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Labour peer writes to FCA chief over Budget guidance qualification concerns

Labour peer Lord Kennedy has written to FCA chief executive Martin Wheatley over concerns about the level of qualification required of those delivering the Government’s pensions guidance guarantee.

The letter also asks what thought has been given to people using the “no limits” service repeatedly to try and avoid having to pay for an adviser.

Last week, Kennedy put his concerns to the Government in a short debate in the House of Lords, but in the letter he says he received an “unsatisfactory response”.

The FCA’s consultation on the standards guides will have to meet says the independent organisations delivering the guidance “must ensure that all those who deliver the guidance over the phone and face-to-face are competent and have sufficient knowledge and expertise to deliver the guidance”.

Kennedy’s letter says: “What qualifications will these people have to have? Will the individuals need to be approved by yourselves for a ‘customer function (CF30)’, as independent financial advisers are? Or is it envisaged that they will be unqualified or will there be a minimum standard expected?”

When plans for the guidance guarantee were unveiled last week, advisers raised concerns costs could spiral if people repeatedly use the service.

Kennedy says: “What consideration has been given to people trying to rely on the guidance and not then going on to seek appropriate advice from a suitable qualified IFA before making choices which could have huge consequences?”

“This does seem to me to be a very worrying state of affairs and I hope you will be able to take some action to protect people’s retirement incomes and avoid some of the scandals we have seen all too often in recent years.”

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  1. Good luck with that Lord Kennedy!

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