Consumer Panel welcomes guidance guarantee

21 July 2014

The Panel has welcomed the Government announcement today setting out further detail on the proposed guidance guarantee.

From April 2015, under the new rules announced in the 2014 Budget, approximately 300,000 individuals a year with defined contribution pension savings will be able to take these savings as a lump sum when they turn 55. This new freedom will mean people are exposed to vital and complex choices; guaranteed access to a guidance service will help them navigate the maze. It is important that consumers trust the service and use it with confidence. Independence and impartiality are vital to this.

Sue Lewis, Consumer Panel Chair, said:

“The guidance guarantee is shaping up to be of real benefit to consumers as they think about retirement. As the Panel’s research on annuities demonstrated, retirement income products are complex, and relatively few people have enough pension savings to go straight to regulated advice. Guidance will fill that gap, and help people think about their many options, from buying a product to paying off debts. It is excellent news that the Government has recognised the need for guidance to be independent of providers, and subject to rigorous standards. The Consumer Panel is also pleased that the Government is not wedded to face to face guidance. While this might be the preferred option for some, many people would rather speak to someone on the phone, or use internet-based options like Skype or webchats”

Notes to editors

  1. The Consumer Panel is a statutory body under the Financial Services Act 2012. It was initially established by the Financial Servicse Authority in December 1998. The panel advises the FCA on the interests and concerns of consumers.
  2. The Panel's membership is drawn from a broad range of backgrounds with expertise including market research, law, financial services industry, financial inclusion, European Regulation, financial regulation, consumer advice, campaigning, communications, compliance and later-life issues.
  3. The emphasis of the Panel's work is on activities that are regulated by the FCA, although it may also look at the impact on consumers of activities outside but related to the FCA's remit. More information about the Panel's work is available here.