Publicity will be crucial in making sure that people realised their options to access expert guidanceby Andy Davis / November 3, 2015 / Leave a comment
Taking important financial decisions fills most people with anxiety and confusion. Many others find personal finance deathly dull. But as responsibility for securing our long-term wellbeing shifts steadily from the state and employers on to the shoulders of individuals, there will be no alternative in future but to face up to these subjects and decide for ourselves what we should do—with or without the help of a qualified expert.
With the early months of “Pension Freedom” now behind us and a review by regulators into the market for financial advice under way, Prospect convened a round-table discussion at the House of Commons on October 22 in association with the FTSE-100 wealth management company Old Mutual Wealth to explore how government can ensure people get the pensions advice they need. The meeting brought together members of the Work and Pensions Select Committee, the Shadow Minister for Work and Pensions, as well as experts from the organisations that deliver the Pension Wise financial guidance service, and the financial services industry.
Paul Feeney, CEO of Old Mutual Wealth, said his firm was now inundated with pension enquiries from people unsure about what to do with their savings. He argued strongly that the UK faced the twin challenges of a very low savings rate by international standards and a major shortage of professional financial advice. “There are, depending on which statistics you believe, somewhere between 22,000 and 25,000 financial advisers now in the UK,” he said. “To put that into perspective there are 330,000 lawyers and over 150,000 accountants. Is there a financial advice gap? You bet there is.”
The government’s Pension Wise initiative was intended to meet an expected upsurge in demand from people looking for help to make decisions—although Pension Wi…