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TUC pension chief backs trees

The Trades Union Congress predicts decision trees will be an effective way

of selling stakeholder pensions.

The move goes against the majority view in the pension industry, which

believes decision trees will be confusing and lead potential stakeholders

to seek professional advice.

But TUC pensions officer Joanne Segars claims there will be little room

for one-to-one advice under stakeholder and decision trees will be an

effective method of helping people get information about pensions.

Segars made her comments at the FSA&#39s decision tree forum last week. Of

the guest speakers, she was the only one who offered support for the

proposal.

Under Segars&#39 plan, if consumers are still confused after going through

the decision tree process, providers will be asked to step in to give

advice where necessary. Segars says 500,000 TUC members have no pension and

any measure encouraging them to take out a plan is welcome.

Industry sources say they do not like the concept of decision trees but

they may end up being “the best of a bad lot”. They will not provide the

same level of information as advice from an IFA but will allow consumers to

make a reasonable decision about their pension.

Scottish Equitable manager of pensions development Steve Cameron says: “If

people cannot afford or do not choose to seek individual advice, then

decision trees will help them make a reasonable decision.”

Clerical Medical pensions strategy manager Nigel Stammers says: “We would

prefer stakeholder to include provision for advice but if decision trees

are the way things are going, IFAs should be able to use them like anyone

else.”

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