‘Specialists needed for retirement planning’
IFAs qualified to level four cannot expect to be able to give complicated pensions advice under the new regulatory regime, David Trenner has warned.
The technical director for Intelligent Pensions said the new adviser status would not amount to a “badge of competence” as they cannot be specialists in everything and will need to outsource certain areas to third parties or in-house specialists.
He said that if they do not consumers could be mislead, resulting in undesirable outcomes with “potentially embarrassing questions about the quality of the new regime”.
Mr Trenner added: “Pensions and retirement planning is a complex area where big mistakes can be made and sometimes cannot be undone. For advisers without the necessary qualifications and experience, investors could be at risk if they believe they are dealing with an expert based on their adviser’s new qualification status after the retail distribution review.”
He said that without greater regulatory focus on complex areas of financial planning there could be a temptation for advisers to “delve into new areas of advice without adequate knowledge”.
Mr Trenner said: “The level-four qualification can be met without the need to undertake a specific pension qualification. For particularly complex areas gap-fill is far less detailed than is needed to be fully competent.”
“By identifying the gaps, advisers can source specialist partners to work with to deliver more robust advice.”
Duncan Philp, senior consultant for Fife-based Macbeth Currie, said: “Many advisers qualified to level four will have previously done the pension G60 exam and that takes into account complicated pensions arrangements.
“However there are areas within pensions that the normal level-four adviser may not be in a position to advise on and, in many cases, should seek help from a third party.”
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