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M&S is looking at execution-only GPPs

Marks & Spencer Financial Services is considering a move into the group personal pension market on an execution-only basis pledging to undercut rivals&#39 charges.

The retailer, which already offers personal pensions, unit trusts, Peps and term insurance, is in the middle of a feasibility study on whether the market will fit its strategy.

The proposal has sparked outrage from many IFAs who do a large amount of business in the GPP market. If M&SFS moves into the market, it could represent the first assault by the execution-only providers on a market which has traditionally been the preserve of advisers.

Industry experts are concerned at the possible move, claiming it would fly in the face of moves to ensure that companies setting up pensions receive good advice.

Last year, life offices saw GPP business soar and the market is seen as a big growth area for pension providers.

M&SFS media relations manager Chris Larkin says the company will aim to beat other providers on price by passing on the cost of advice savings.

Larkin says: "We are able to reduce costs and pass it on to customers. We will use the same model as our personal pensions to beat the market."

But James Haye managing director Ian Hammond says: "To do this without advice seems at odds with what financial services regulation is trying to achieve."

Johnstone Douglas director Nigel Chambers says: "This seems quite dangerous for companies. They really need specialist advice."

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