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Government needs some advice on stakeholder advice

With Treasury economic secretary Melanie Johnson claiming stakeholder does not need advice, IFAs probably don&#39t know whether to laugh or cry.

Johnson has already said as much about mortgages while the spin doctoring over axing polarisation has denigrated advisers.

This issue of Money Marketing sees Nick Bamford, an IFA with over two decades of pensions experience, providing the answers to 20 questions he believes any adviser should know before selling stakeholder. Hardly simple.

The Government is also ducking the issue of contracting out and the minimum income guarantee while the pension credit will penalise lower-income savers at the equivalent of higher-rate tax.

But at least Johnson lets IFAs know where they stand. Three pensions ministers have argued that advice can be included within 1 per cent. Things are now in the open and IFAs will probably have to learn to live with this regime. But there is a strong chance that a future Labour Government will rue its cavalier attitude.

Thousands have lost their jobs because of stakeholder while, amazingly for such a cautious Government, it may also be forcing itself into a corner on compulsion by making private pensions unsellable.

As for the Treasury, as junior ministers jump on the “Catmarketing” bandwagon, it comes perilously close to giving advice.

If the Government really wants to replace IFAs with its own stamp of approval, it should do the decent thing and undertake to compensate with public money the consumers who misbuy.In the meantime, buyers beware.

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