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Pica amends annuity directory following ‘anti-advice’ criticism

The new ’Pick-A’ directory is designed to connect consumers to retirement income specialists.

The Pensions Income Choice Association has agreed to change the way a new directory of annuity brokers describes advised services following claims it creates an anti-advice bias.

The Pick-A directory, which launched this week, is designed to provide a “shop window” for regulated retirement specialists to promote their services to savers across the UK.

But advisers claimed the directory’s description of advised and non-advised services will encourage users to opt for a non-advised broker.

In particular, advisers pointed to a section of the site which suggests advice “can be more complex and time consuming” than guidance while suggesting non-advised brokers “put you in the driving seat”.

Pica chairman and Hargreaves Lansdown head of pensions research Tom McPhail says the phrase “complex and time consuming” has been removed from the site, while the description of the benefits of non-advised services has been “toned down”.

He says: “I have had helpful feedback from a number of advisers this morning and, in the short-term, we have agreed to some specific changes.

“We are deleting the line that says advice can be more complex and time consuming than receiving guidance. In addition, on the guidance section we are removing the line which says guided brokers “put you in the driving seat” and modifying it to say they “give you the information you need and explain anything that isn’t clear, but leave the decision making to you.”

“So we are toning down the virtues of guidance and removing some of the criticism of advice.”

Pica is also looking to address issues around the indicative costs displayed on the directory. For some brokers, these costs are currently listed as £0.

Investment Sense marketing and relationship manager Phillip Bray says: “It is good that Pica has listened to criticism from the adviser community. If these problems are ironed out the directory could fill a big hole in the search process for a retiree.”

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