Karen Barrett, Chief Executive of unbiased.co.uk, comments on today’s Autumn Statement

03 Dec 2014


“The Chancellor’s confirmation of the pensions freedoms announced in September, and the extension of these freedoms to include the ability for consumers to pass on their ISA pots tax-free to a beneficiary when they die, both have major implications for how people will need to manage their money and plan for retirement.  Whilst we welcome the increased freedoms as they mean that people will be empowered to manage their money in the way that best suits their own circumstances, the changes also mean that the decisions to be made around retirement planning in particular will be more critical and far reaching, emphasising a clear need for proper regulated advice to be available and encouraged.

“Increased freedom brings with it increased responsibility and as it stands, the Guidance Guarantee  - a 30 minute top level review of an individual’s retirement options - will not provide people with the level of understanding needed in order to take action. Unlocking pensions and ISAs and removing compulsory annuitisation will mean people have the flexibility to use their money as they see fit, but the concern is that large numbers of people will fall through the advice gap when they need advice most.  Regulated whole of market financial advice absolutely gives the best outcome for consumers and unbiased has called for clear signposting to sources of advice to be a compulsory outcome of any Guidance sessions.

“In addition to this, the changes to Stamp Duty will have huge implications for anyone buying a property, and particularly first time buyers who will be more likely to be impacted on the changes at the lower end of the scale.  Unbiased.co.uk recently published research which showed that buying a property is one of the most significant ‘advice moments’ for people across the UK, and these reductions in stamp duty mean that the overall cost of buying will come down, and therefore what people can afford and how they manage the journey to reaching their savings goal will change.  First time buyers are more likely than those who are moving home to seek professional financial advice (82% vs 42% of UK adults in general), and we hope that these changes to the stamp duty, which are effective as of midnight tonight, will see even more new buyers seeking professional advice to help them get on the property ladder.

“Major changes to the rules around how we look after our money will always lead to confusion among consumers and create an obvious need for people to know where they can go for advice, but with pensions in particular (which is always the most searched-for advice area on unbiased.co.uk) seeing such extensive change, the onus is on the government to ensure that people do not lose out through confusion or inaction.

“Unbiased.co.uk lists over 25,000 professional advisers with specialist knowledge in pensions (including over 12,000 advisers specialising in retirement advice and over 3,000 who specifically state they advise clients with pension pots of £50,000 or less) and mortgages.  Our Find an Adviser checklist can help people find the adviser who is right for their unique circumstances.”



For more information contact:

Anna Schirmer/ Sarah Tye, Lansons: 020 7294 3682

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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.

Category: News Tagged: mortgages, pensions, retirement

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