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Free PFS advice service helping the wrong client

As a member of the old LIA until last December, I have followed the changing face of the organisation as the new Personal Finance Society.

I was surprised to see an article in the Mail on Sunday last month suggest- ing that since January, the PFS, Tudor Trust and Barclays have been support- ing, by way of a 90,000 contribution, a free advice service to help referrred clients from the Citizens’ Advice Bureau with financial problems. The project gives free access to a qualified adviser.

What I found unbelievable was that the case illustrated related not to a hard-up client in Edgware who could not afford the services of an IFA but a retiring member of an occupational pension scheme needing advice on whether to take tax-free cash or not.

This is someone who, instead of receiving free advice subsidised partially by PFS members’ contributions, should have been doing the reverse – paying a fee to a PFS member.

I am not aware of any announcement relating to this project. Perhaps this was something that the membership should have been consulted on for a vote. It all seems to have been so low-profile that no one I know has heard of it.

It would be reasonable to support contributions to worthwhile causes. I worked for many years on the LIA Herts and Beds committee, where we raised many thousands of pounds for local charities.

I now see members’ contributions and the cash that was acquired during the merger between Sofa and the LIA being handed to undeserving cases referred from the CAB for free advice without apparent approval or knowledge of the member-ship, whose money we are effectively talking about, and it requires an explanation.

Alan Swaysland

Denford, Northamptonshire


NU Boosts policies after charge error

Norwich Union will be refunding 70,000 unit linked fund policyholders after discovering not all its charges were correctly disclosed. The move will see policyholders given an increase in their policy value averaging 90. NU will be writing to customers in the next three months to advise them of the refund and when their policy value […]

Howard quits as Tory leader

Michael Howard has announced his decision to quit as Conservative leader after failing to stop Labour winning an historic third term.However Howard says he will stay on until the party commits to a new way of electing its leader after criticism of this process in the past.

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Avoid pension penalties with our auto-enrolment checklist

According to the Pensions Regulator’s annual commentary and analysis report released this month, 785 potential non-compliance cases were referred for investigation, with 23 auto-enrolment compliance notices issued. And they predict that the use of their statutory powers is only going to increase.


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