Advice or Guidance?
Would you buy a house before speaking to a conveyancer? Or attempt to pursue a legal case without consulting a solicitor? There are times when we all need professional advice to ensure we’re making the right decisions. The UK pensions market is extremely complex and in a period of significant transition. As you prepare to retire, you’ll be expected to make decisions that will affect your financial security for the rest of your life. Are you confident enough to navigate this territory without the right support?
Pension Wise Guidance vs Independent Financial Advice
In light of recent pension reforms, the UK government has launched the Pension Wise service, promising free guidance to all people approaching retirement. However, this guidance should not be confused with independent financial advice. With government guidance, you will not receive personally tailored recommendations, but rather very general information on your options. The responsibility for making the right decision and managing the process will ultimately fall to you alone.
In October 2014, the government confirmed that their Pension Wise guidance pledge will be fulfilled by the Citizen's Advice Bureau (for face-to-face advice) and the Pension's Advisory Service (for telephone support).
The function of these services will be to provide information on your options and their potential advantages and disadvantages. However, they can not offer personalised recommendations. After they have given you the facts, you will be left to make your own decision – with no recourse to any support in managing your finances or avoiding potential pitfalls. You will also have to make all of the arrangements for claiming your pension income yourself.
This does not mean that Pension Wise guidance is worthless – it can be an excellent starting point if you want to get a clearer idea of the options available to you. However, for tailored recommendations and long-term support, there's no substitute for independent financial advice.
Independent Financial Advice
Rather than simply providing generalised information, an independent financial advisor will work closely with you to determine your individual circumstances and priorities. They will then use this insight to make a personally tailored recommendation, helping you to get the best value from your pension savings. They can also manage the process on your behalf, liaising with your pension provider and searching the whole market for the best value quotes and most suitable plans to meet your needs.
If you decide to pursue an investment-based scheme, your advisor can recommend a suitable portfolio, based on your priorities and attitude to risk. They can also manage this on your behalf, setting up regular meetings to keep you updated on the status of your pension pot.
Because they are fully independent, our advisors are not tied to any pension provider or product. There is no obligation to follow any of their recommendations or to buy any product or service. The final decision is still yours.
All independent financial advisors must be qualified to a minimum level 4 in Financial Planning in line with industry standards and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). My Retirement Options will never put you in touch with an advisor who does not meet these standards.
|Clear explanation of the options available||✔||✔|
|Personally tailored quotes and recommendations||✘||✔|
|Information about product-specific fees and charges||✘||✔|
|Qualified advice from an FCA-authorised finance professional||✘||✔|
|Facility to arrange and manage your pension income plan on your behalf||✘||✔|
|Regular updates to ensure your retirement income remains on track||✘||✔|
|Recourse to compensation through the FCA if you're mis-advised||✘||✔|
|Long-term support in selecting and managing any investment portfolios||✘||✔|
At My Retirement Options, we're dedicated to ensuring that all UK retirees have access to independent financial advice. That's why we guarantee a free, no obligation initial consultation to all customers who use our service to connect to an IFA. This can be taken face to face or over the telephone, and is typically around an hour in length. If after attending this free consultation you decide to progress, your advisor will lay out a cost analysis in full. It is an FCA requirement that all independent advisors offer total transparency when it comes to their costs, so you will never be subject to hidden charges or obligations.
Remember, the job of an IFA is to maximise your long-term income. If they do their job well, the cost of using their service should be more than covered by the financial benefits of following their advice. Specific IFA costs vary, but most advisors are happy to work with you to develop a payment plan that you're comfortable with.
Find out more
To get connected to an independent financial advisor in your area, simply fill out our form to claim your free initial consultation. You can also call us on 0800 008 6189 to speak to a member of our customer support team.