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MAS removes annuity advice statement following IFA outcry

by Brian Cantwell on Feb 01, 2013 at 15:22

MAS removes annuity advice statement following IFA outcry

The Money Advice Service (MAS) has removed a statement on its website telling consumers seeking annuity advice to use a firm with over 25 staff, following a debate on the New Model Adviser® blogs.

Up until 31 January the MAS website said: ‘Finding a specialist annuity broker isn’t as straightforward as there are no directories that list them. The best way to find one is to search the internet and check that they run a dedicated annuity team of at least 25 staff.’

On a story about the Financial Services Authority (FSA) investigating annuity pricing a number of advisers commented on New Model Adviser® about the MAS statement.

The following day it had been taken off the website.

Kate Brookes, of Wiltshire-based IFA firm Jones Hill, said: ‘There are very few companies out there running a dedicated annuities staff of 25 amongst IFAs.

‘It illustrates to me is how little MAS understands us and our industry, and how we work and how little the FSA understands about us. ‘

‘The change illustrates a little more consultation with us would be a good thing as they were advising the public to go and look for something that doesn’t exist.’

A spokeswoman for MAS said: ‘The copy was amended today on our website’.

25 comments so far. Why not have your say?


Feb 01, 2013 at 15:48

Where does the number 25 come from? I would be interested to see why this number was chosen.

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alan from perth

Feb 01, 2013 at 15:51

I would say something stronger however I dont want to be sued for libel as this may be "a risk to the business with the new thematic reviews around the corner!!! 1 blogger recently wrote that the biggest lobbyist for this crowd is the same firm who have around 25 "trained annuity staff". Though I may be wrong the whole thing is pure comic book and this organisation should be disbanded or to quote Jeremy Clarkson taken outside etc etc. Does this mean that 25 numpties are better than 1 highly trained and educated IFA????????????

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alan from perth

Feb 01, 2013 at 15:53

PS Disgusted but nothing that comes out of this industry ever surprises me

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Man of Kent

Feb 01, 2013 at 15:54

@ Kins - I'm sure a dartboard and blindfold were involved...

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Bob Donaldson

Feb 01, 2013 at 15:55

Pick a number double it, add five, take away twenty two, stick your finger in the air, turn around twice and perhaps you might see where they get it from!

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John Phillips

Feb 01, 2013 at 15:58

2+5 = 7

7x6 = 42

42 is the what all know to be the meaning of Life according to Douglas Adams and therefore as with 42, 25 is just as good a number to make up when you don't have a clue.

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Sascha K

Feb 01, 2013 at 16:09

@Man of Kent: They managed to hit the outer ring of the bull while blindfolded? Barry Hearn, sign him up...

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Duncan Carter 2

Feb 01, 2013 at 16:19

@ John Phillips

It's actually more sophisticated than that:

Add all numbers you quoted (except 42) thus

2+5+7+7+6= 27

Then subtract the original 2 as it was randomly selected and there you are, 25!

You lot are just so cynical when actually there is a mathmatical answer.

Anyway enough this high level stuff, I'm just finishing off my job application to be an 'ask ma' free independent adviser as I can't seem to make the free NEST advice being suggested elsewhere, pay the regulatory costs never mind some economy mince for the kids supper!

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Usually found sitting on the fence

Feb 01, 2013 at 16:22

25 is advised as you may want advice at the same time as 24 other people, therefore anything less is just silly... Surely that is obvious?

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Richard Hardy

Feb 01, 2013 at 16:31

The figure was taken from a public sector manual on how many people are required to change a light bulb.

Public sector 25:

Private sector 1:

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Dennis Hall

Feb 01, 2013 at 16:49

Perhaps they will revise this number downwards by two thirds after their own year long review led to a cull of two thirds of MAS staff. After all, if MAS now considers it can do the same job (or better) with one third the staff, perhaps people can get annuity advice from firms with only 8 or 9 people instead of 25. plonkers.

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Feb 01, 2013 at 16:54

Maybe there are fans of Zager and Evans..........in the year 2525 !!

Apologies for obscure reference to 60's pop.

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Usually found sitting on the fence

Feb 01, 2013 at 17:01

Found the answer in Wikipedia... It signifies the MAS opinion of IFAs...

"25 boy" (read as "two-five boy"), in Cantonese Chinese, is a slang term meaning "traitor" as used in the Chinese movie Over the Edge.

Have a good weekend.

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Feb 01, 2013 at 17:04

Maybe they should reinstate this, but not take the fees from the IFAs who fund this, if the IFA operates with less than 25 people.....o no hang on, take the money, misinform the public, and hinder the IFAs working to support the public..........much more sensible.

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Feb 01, 2013 at 17:07

I have the answer - 25 is the number of satisfied customers MAS had in 2012.

Have a good weekend people of planet earth.

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Feb 01, 2013 at 17:11

The best explanation I can think of is that MAS assume larger firms would be able to negotiate better annuity rates? This, of course, also assumes the firm in question is passing the saving on to the client?

The other explanation would be that MAS have judged authorised advisers as not competent in this area due to their size. Can’t see it’s the role of MAS to make that judgement if so maybe they should tell the FSA.

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John Phillips

Feb 01, 2013 at 17:18




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Neil Liversidge

Feb 01, 2013 at 17:20

Subtract the age of Rod Stewart's latest girlfriend from his age. Subtract her chest measurement. Hey presto - the average number of brain cells possessed by MAS's management team.

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Feb 01, 2013 at 17:40

Its because in any quango, 25 people are needed to do a job that could be done by just 1 good worker in the private sector.


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Feb 01, 2013 at 19:01

Anitaki has it spot on. The problem is each 1 of us has to meet the costs of 25 of them. The FSA want adviser firms to be prudent and run a profitable business. How about they start practicing what they preach?

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phil castle via mobile

Feb 01, 2013 at 19:09

Enough jokes, MAS did not choose this number, an individual person did. Why? Where is their research to justify the statement or were they bribed to say it?

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Kate Brookes

Feb 01, 2013 at 19:19

Did all of you just miss what happened?

It's a small thing, we protested,we stuck together without arguments between ourselves and we made a change.

That's all I'm saying.........

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Biigbob via mobile

Feb 01, 2013 at 21:08

Anyone know how many annuity advisers HL have?

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Richard Butler

Feb 02, 2013 at 09:14

I'm glad the debate achieved something. Now for the rest of their website!

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Feb 03, 2013 at 22:12

"The other explanation would be that MAS have judged authorised advisers as not competent in this area due to their size"

I'm 5' 10". Am I too short to be an annuity adviser?

I have an SPS, loads of exams inc G60, more to take to stay ahead of the game but unless I wear platform shoes will not make it as an adviser! :-)

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