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Survey the foundations of property

The expertise of IFAs in the property market has been questioned by the British Property Federation.

The trade body says that IFAs’ knowledge of tax and pension matters may be high but if property is to make up a substantial proportion of an investment portfolio, say in a Sipp after A-Day, then they have concerns.

It is completely appropriate that they voice this opinion and there may be gaps in some advisers’ knowledge.

IFAs have concerns themselves about the property industry and are increasingly voicing them. They believe that property investment in pensions is being sold – some would say hard-sold. Certainly, some of the advertising would not pass muster for any sort of mutual fund, whether within or outside a pension.

In some advertisements, no mention is made of the need to pay a market rate of rent to the pension fund while much is made of how much the actual cost of a flat or house is reduced by.

This clearly not giving investors a balanced picture. Money Marketing believes that some attention must be paid by regulators – whether the FSA, Advertising Standards Authority or the Dti – as to how the new property in pensions adventure is presented. Some IFAs may need to increase their knowledge or to link up with reputable experts in the field. But hopefully, advisers can serve as a brake on some of the wilder schemes being touted while injecting some much needed decent advice into the process.

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