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.
However, 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” will now be removed from the site, while the description of the benefits of non-advised services will be “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.
McPhail says: “This is down to the quality of the data cleansing on the initial registration process. We are addressing that but we don’t yet know how long it will take to fix that problem.”