The Pensions Advisory Service and the Money Advice Service are in talks with the pensions industry about launching a steering group to develop a quality mark for advisers and retirement brokers, Money Marketing understands.
Annuity Direct chairman Alan Higham, who has been involved in the discussions, says an announcement will be made “shortly”.
He says: “People need reliable expert help at retirement but at the moment the quality of services available is very patchy. The idea of a simple, national quality kitemark for at-retirement expert help is an appealing one to a whole range of organisations.
“We need to find a body to do the accreditation and monitoring of the advisers and we need to set out the detail of the quality standards. We are slowly building a consensus on how that should be done.”
TPAS was unavailable for comment while MAS said talks were at an early stage.
Separately, the Association of British Insurers has confirmed its members will point savers to Pica’s directory of intermediaries following a revamp of the trade body’s retirement choices code of conduct.
The Pick-A directory, launched in November last year, is designed to help consumers to find an annuity broker.
An ABI spokeswoman says: “We are going to evaluate and review the code in the spring. We expect to make changes, including adding pick-a.org to the list of useful resources in the code.”
It remains unclear whether TPAS or the MAS will promote the Pick-A directory on their websites.
Money Marketing understands that the MAS has raised a number of issues with Pica, including that several advisers listed on the directory appear to be offering advice at indicative costs of zero.
Hargreaves Lansdown head of pensions research Tom McPhail says: “It is excellent the ABI is going to recognise the Pick-A directory in its revised code and we will continue to work with other stake–holders to further drive up quality standards.”