unbiased.co.uk calls for clear signposting to advice in its response to the FCA consultation on retirement reforms and the guidance guarantee

24 Sep 2014

unbiased.co.uk calls for clear signposting to advice in its response to the FCA consultation on retirement reforms and the guidance guarantee

  • Consumers require clarity about what the guidance guarantee covers
  • There is a clear need for advice for consumers at retirement 
  • unbiased.co.uk uniquely positioned to provide directory of regulated advisers following clear signposting from initial guidance session

unbiased.co.uk, the find an adviser search website, has responded to the FCA consultation on retirement reforms and the guidance guarantee, highlighting the need for absolute clarity of what is being provided, and clear signposting of where consumers can go for whole of market advice.

unbiased.co.uk conducted exclusive consumer research into attitudes towards advice and the concept of guidance, revealing confusion among consumers over exactly what the guidance guarantee covers. Whilst the guidance guarantee provides basic information on retirement planning, it does not include advice, although 16% of respondents believe it does. The picture of confusion that the research draws demonstrates that any government initiative must be absolutely clear in what it provides to consumers, empowering them to then go to a qualified whole of market adviser and get the most from that consultation, rather than act as a replacement for regulated advice on retirement planning.

Question: The government announced in the Budget that it was looking to provide all people at retirement with a ‘guidance guarantee’. What do you think this pre-retirement guidance guarantee would deliver to you?

  • A general overview of retirement options available (21%)
  • Basic information on retirement planning (21%)
  • Advice on my retirement planning (16%)
  • Advice on what retirement income option is right for me (13%)
  • A guarantee that what I'm being told is right for me and my situation (11%)

Whilst unbiased.co.uk fully supports the step towards helping UK consumers better prepare for their golden years, it is imperative that the limitations of the guidance guarantee are made clear, as without such clarity and signposting towards where they can find regulated advice, many may rely solely on guidance, and therefore miss out on the additional income a qualified whole of market adviser can help add to their pension pot.

unbiased.co.uk’s research shows that there is a clear need for consumers to have access to regulated financial advice at retirement - 63% of UK consumers think more needs to be done to help them find whole of market, unbiased financial advice in order for them to plan their retirement. And the reasons for that are clear:

  • only 35% of those currently planning for retirement said the word ‘easy’ came to mind when they thought about retirement planning
  • less than half (43%) with retirement plans chose to select ‘clear’
  • only 38% chose to select ‘confident’ when thinking about their retirement plans
  • a quarter (25%) selected ‘anxious’

In order to dispel the myth that advisers mainly deal with high net worth individuals, unbiased.co.uk asked its network of advisers in August 2014 what the lowest value pension pot they currently advise on is. 37.5% said less than £25k while 36% said between £25k and £50k. This means unbiased.co.uk has the means, reach and scope to help connect consumers with advisers who understand smaller pots and the needs of consumers at retirement stage. 

unbiased.co.uk has put its proposal forward to work with the guidance delivery partners not only to act as the advice mechanism but also to make sure that the content of the guidance session is appropriate based on the longstanding experience unbiased.co.uk and its advisers have; both in terms of what is asked of consumers and also regarding scenarios may come up during the session.

Karen Barrett, chief executive of unbiased.co.uk comments:

“We back any initiative that encourages forethought and planning, in particular access to qualified people to help consumers make the right decisions about saving for their retirement. However, whilst the industry is clear on the distinction between guidance and advice, our research shows that this has not filtered down to consumers, so more education is required to provide people with the tools they need to adequately provide for themselves post-retirement. Our concern is that without this clarity, people may opt for guidance instead of advice – and it is clear that advice from a professional whole of market adviser can significantly increase the value of a pension pot, and that those who seek professional advice are much more confident about their financial future.

“The guidance output is fundamental to the process, and should cover everything that was discussed, including key facts and consequences. Providing resources for specialist professional advice must form part of the guidance output, and unbiased.co.uk is a comprehensive source already available to meet that requirement. Our advisers would be happy to work with the delivery partners in order to make sure that the content of the guidance sessions is appropriate, and that essential signposting and associated literature is produced to best position consumers to maximise their income in retirement.”

unbiased.co.uk has been helping people find regulated and qualified financial advice for over 25 years, and has more than 24,000 advisers available through its database. Retirement planning has always been the most frequently searched for area of advice, and with numerous organisations including the Money Advice Service, The Pensions Advisory Service and The Pensions Regulator already linking to the site, unbiased.co.uk is in a unique position to provide the directory for consumers to seek advice should they require it. The search on the unbiased.co.uk website and over 60 white label versions of the search across industry, product provider and media sites, receives over one million unique users annually, including over 120,000 specific retirement advice queries every year.

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



Notes to editors:

Opinium Research carried out an online survey of 2,003 UK adults aged 18+ from 29th April to 2nd May 2014. Results have been weighted to nationally representative criteria. www.opinium.co.uk

For more information contact:

Sarah Tye / Kate Aitchison: 020 7294 3682 / mailto:[email protected] 

For expert commentary or case studies from over 200 media-friendly advisers, journalists should visit unbiased.co.uk Bluebook - the media adviser directory
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LinkedIn: unbiased.co.uk - online networking for professional advisers

About unbiased.co.uk, the professional advice website:

unbiased.co.uk is the UK's most comprehensive free professional adviser search website, focused on empowering users with the resources they need to make better informed financial and legal decisions. We not only help consumers and businesses find the best adviser for their needs from 24,000 IFAs, financial advisers, mortgage advisers, solicitors and accountants listed on our search, but we also help them research the market by providing relevant information and tools. At unbiased.co.uk we are transparent about what we do and provide the easiest way for consumers to find and compare advisers meeting their requirements.

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.co.uk has launched a new industry-facing website for the adviser community at business.unbiased.co.uk.

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


Bright Grey 

Royal London 360°

Canada Life Ltd

Santander Asset Management 

Legal & General



Scottish Life


Standard Life Assurance Limited 


Zurich Intermediary Group

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

Category: Pensions & Retirement Tagged: guidance guarantee

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