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Pica launches pensions adviser ‘shop window’ directory

The Pensions Income Choice Association has launched a free-to-use directory of retirement advisers and brokers as part of an effort to encourage savers to shop around.

The new ‘Pick-A’ directory, which opened to registration from intermediaries on Tuesday, is designed to provide a “shop window” for regulated retirement specialists to promote their services to savers across the UK.

People who use the service will be asked to input their age, fund value and postcode. They will then be given an estimate of their potential retirement income and told they could get more if they have medical problems.

At this point the user will be able to choose from three options – a complete financial planning service, help focused purely on their pension or a list of annuity rates. The directory will then generate a list of advisers and brokers who can provide these services and the price they charge.

In order to be listed on the directory intermediaries must be FCA authorised and able to provide annuity rates from at least 75 per cent of the market.

Hargreaves Lansdown head of pensions research and Pica chairman Tom McPhail says: “Without someone to help them shop around for the right type of retirement income and to search the market for the best rate it is virtually impossible for pension investors to get a good deal from their retirement savings.

“This directory will help them to find the right help at the right price.”

Informed Choice managing director Martin Bamford says: “This is a great initiative by Pica and we will be signing up to the directory. It is essential that people are able to access help when they reach retirement.”

Advisers can register to be listed on the directory for free here

Tom McPhail: Why Pica’s new directory matters



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There are 2 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Firstly, PICA should receive recognition for the work they have done in driving more consumers to buy products from someone other than their current insurer.

    The idea that there should be a national directory of at retirement advisers to help people who struggle to find affordable reliable expert help is also welcome. The ABI promised in its Code of Conduct to sign post customers to a directory if a suitable one could be found.

    It is therefore very disappointing that PICA have designed a directory which isn’t regarded as suitable by OMO Working Group stakeholders who include TPAS, MAS, the Consumer Panel as well as NAPF & ABI. It is a missed opportunity.

    The directory is unsuitable in my opinion because it lacks clear objective standards for brokers/advisers to follow which would safeguard the consumer against the following problems.

    1. Being confused whether they were paying for advice with a recommended solution or simply making a buying decision based on limited data.

    2. Buying an annuity, especially an enhanced annuity, believing that you had looked at the best rates when in fact there were better rates readily available which had not been offered to you

    3. Buying an annuity from the open market and losing valuable benefits from the current policy which would be better such as guaranteed annuity rate; higher tax free cash or losing life cover when ill

    4. Dealing with a salesman when you thought you were dealing with a professional who was on your side

    5. Being honest and up front about how the consumer pays for the service, not trying to call it ‘free’ when commissions of up to 4% are taken

    6. Having different commission levels for different products which given the sales nature of many firms does distort how the products are distributed.

    7. Selling unsuitable products like single life annuities to married men but saying nothing because “I’m not allowed to provide advice”.

    Over 100 firms of specialist at retirement advisers are willing to sign up to a voluntary Code of Conduct for brokers and advisers which would protect the consumer. The Code will be administered by the Society Of Later Life Adviser and will be issued later this year for public consultation. A draft of the Code has been sent to the OMO Working Group for comment ahead of public consultation.

  2. Mr Higham why is it OK for you to take commission (via your non-advised arm of Annuity Direct) but it isn’t OK for others.

    You will no doubt argue that you “cap” your commission, but commission is still commission. If you are so against non-advised why even offer it. I have seen you describe some of the non-advised deals in the market as tawdry. Is it as tawdry as the same deal you struck to offer Fidelity’s DC members access to the open market in March last year? A service which although offering access to advice for larger funds, offers the cattle of the scheme a non-advised commission taking service.

    Stones and glass houses spring to mind whenever I see you commenting on issues in the retirement space.

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