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Voucher system proposed for advice on stakeholder


Friends Provident is urging the Government to introduce a voucher system to ensure people receive adequate advice on stakeholder pensions.


The system would provide the stakeholder with a voucher provided by either the employer or the Government to be redeemed in exchange for advice.


Alternatively, the life office says an additional charge should be costed within the products structure and fully disclosed.


The proposals for costing of advice is part of its response to the Government&#39s Stakeholder Pensions Consultation Brief No.4 Regulation, Advice and Information.


The response calls on the Government to draw a clear distinction between what constitutes information and what is deemed advice under stakeholder.


Friends&#39 says the distinction is needed, because the proposals for stakeholders to receive &#34basic advice&#34 within the 1 per cent maximum charge doesn&#39t fit within current financial regulations.


It says the regulations do not recognise the term &#34basic advice&#34 because all advisers are duty bound to always provide &#34best advice&#34 to their clients, requiring more work than just providing basic information.


Friends&#39 believe the elements of initial information and generic advice within the proposals equate to current &#34execution only&#34 business and as such are not sufficient for many people despite the simple product structure proposed for stakeholder.


Friends says: &#34The proposed 1 per cent charge should include only that element of &#39advice&#39 which is required of products sold &#39off the page&#39 by customers responding to an advertisement and completing an application form.&#34


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