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Oops! MPs say sorry to AJ Bell for guidance gaffe

Oops! MPs say sorry to AJ Bell for guidance gaffe

The work and pensions select committee has apologised after accidentally misrepresenting platform and pension provider AJ Bell as a supporter of default pension guidance.

In its proposals on the Financial Guidance and Claims Bill, the committee called for urgent action to ban pension cold calling before next summer.

It also suggested making the public take, or have to expressly opt out of, mandatory guidance before they can access their pension pot. AJ Bell was one of several providers cited as supporting the proposals. However, the firm disputed this, instead reiterating questions about the practicality of the move.

Senior analyst Tom Selby said: 'We were slightly surprised the committee referenced us supporting default guidance given that we have raised a number of issues around the practicalities of the proposal.

'It would be worrying if a policy that could potentially cause huge frustration for savers is pushed through based on the idea pension providers support it when many, including AJ Bell, have concerns about implementation.' 

New Model Adviser® understands the citation should have linked to the Which? evidence (PFC0036) instead of AJ Bell (PFC0047).

A committee spokeswoman said: 'We apologise sincerely for the mistake and we will correct it now.'

In its initial response to the paper, AJ Bell argued that forcing people to take guidance at the stage where they about to take action would be seen by the public as a 'barrier being put in the way of them accessing their money'.

Selby said: 'They need guidance much earlier when they are deciding how to access their pension savings. The committee would have likely come to the same conclusion if it had actually spoken to a pension provider or customer who has been through the process.'

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