2015 – the year for financial advice? Karen Barrett, chief executive of unbiased.co.uk, looks ahead at the big themes for 2015

10 Dec 2014

“The last year has certainly been a memorable one for financial services. Changes to stamp duty and the new pensions and ISA freedoms announced in this year’s Budget and Autumn Statement are both liberating and empowering for consumers. Alongside these reforms, the FCA’s promise of a guidance guarantee is hugely positive in highlighting the need for information and consumer engagement when it comes to financial planning, both at the point of retirement and leading up to it. But with the increased choice and flexibility comes a new and to some extent more serious level of responsibility for consumers – the responsibility to actively make choices and decisions for their long-term income needs in retirement. And this is where the door has suddenly been pushed wide open for the financial advice market to step in and do what it’s best at doing – which is help people make the right choices for their financial needs.

“Our research shows that only 27% of people think they’d be confident arranging an annuity without the help of a financial adviser – and that is just one of the many options consumers can now choose from. Overall, only 38% of people say they’re ‘confident’ about their retirement income plans, and one in four (25%) said they feel ‘anxious’ about it, unsurprising given the raft of new options now available to them.

“And while the pension guidance guarantee will highlight to consumers that they now have to make some decisions when it comes to their retirement income, it stops short of offering them actual advice. This is where the advice industry needs to step in to help consumers make the right, smart choices on their best options.

“2015 will see further clarity on how the guidance guarantee will look and work. We are looking for definitive instructions from the regulator on the need for guidance providers to include clear signposting to regulated financial advice as an outcome of the guidance sessions. But the important thing to remember is that the advice industry doesn’t need to wait for the next steps on the guidance guarantee to get ready.

“Advisers already offer professional, qualified and regulated advice to millions of consumers and it is the continued showcasing of the benefits of this advice for consumers that 2015 will be all about. Consumers will be looking for help and actual advice on their retirement income options. Advisers are best placed to serve that need, leading to the best outcome for consumers.

 “Unbiased.co.uk is the largest database of independent whole-of-market financial advisers, including 15,400 IFAs. The advisers we list are uniquely positioned to help consumers make confident decisions regarding their retirement income options.  We list over 25,000 professional advisers and hold details of over 12,000 who specialise in retirement advice.  In addition to this, over 3,000 of our advisers specifically state they advise clients with pension pots of £50,000 or less.  Our Find an Adviser checklist can help people find the adviser who is right for their unique circumstances.”

For a free and confidential search for a whole of market financial adviser, visit www.unbiased.co.uk




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About unbiased.co.uk, the professional advice website

The unbiased.co.uk website launched in 1998 and rapidly became the UK’s leading online destination for consumers and businesses looking to find an adviser.  Now attracting over one million visitors a year, unbiased.co.uk is the default adviser directory for consumer websites recommending their audience to ‘find an adviser’.

Unbiased Ltd promotes the benefits of financial and legal advice to consumers and businesses and would like to thank the following companies for their support:



Alliance Trust 



Opinium Research 

AXA Wealth


Canada Life Ltd 

Royal London 

Legal & General 

Santander Asset Management 




Standard Life Assurance Limited 

Unbiased Ltd - Registered Office: 12-14 Berry St, London, EC1V 0AU.  Registered in England: No. 06775878.

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