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Lords take aim at FSA over RDR advice gap

by William Robins on Nov 28, 2012 at 08:06

Lords take aim at FSA over RDR advice gap

Peers have blamed the retail distribution review (RDR) for creating an advice gap that will leave the poorest stranded at retirement, in a House of Lords debate.

Peers said in a debate last night that the RDR, combined with high pension charges, would hurt savers with small pension pots.

Cross-bench peer Sally Greengross, who led the debate, said the RDR would lead to those on a modest income being priced out of the advice market.

‘There is a big chance that [the poorest] are exactly the set of people who will receive no advice at all, as costs are made transparent and IFAs follow more high net worth clients,’ she said.

‘We must narrow the advice gap. Much more should be done to ensure consumer information is delivered but that must be from a consumer, rather than a compliance, perspective.’

She added that a fragmented government savings policy, split between the work of the Treasury, the Department for Work and Pensions and the FSA, was contributing towards the problem.

Tory peer John Patten added that it was possible for cost-effective investment and advice options to be made available to savers with small pots. ‘We could use the buying power that a million people would have to negotiate for good advice or a better deal when they invest,’ he said.

‘There may be market driven options. They have £2 billion to invest - the market could come up with a process to get a better deal for pensioners.’ Government whip Tina Stowell said the DWP would consider his idea.

Patten also harshly criticised charges taken from pension pots. ‘These charges have just abolished any chance of getting these rates. People talk about the magic of compound interest but [there is a] tyranny of high charges.’

Labour peer Patricia Hollis added that self-interest among pension providers was also hurting the drive to create a savings culture.

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