Opinion  

Not everyone wants a guaranteed income

With regard to the problem of insistent clients, and the warnings by the Personal Finance Society’s to advisers to ‘just say no’ to them, I think it is great that our professional body is trying to get some clarity – but I am really not convinced that this should be stopping us from being professional advisers.

The FCA gives us suitability rules and insistent customer rules if we need them. The Financial Ombudsman Service deals with cases individually and it has always been our job to give good advice and document it well.

So what are we complaining about? We know how to decide whether we want to recommend something and when it meets the customers’ objectives, and there are many occasions where the pension freedoms are right for some people and many when they are not.

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But we have to stop assuming that a guaranteed income is what everyone wants. Then if we do recommend that they stick with guarantees, we have to decide whether their own views are worthy of our support or whether we as advisers want to walk away.

Nothing has changed. This has always been the case. And no pension review was the same and our advice at the time was mainly ill-conceived and not in the clients’ best interests. Anyone involved in the pension review will tell you this. If you are a qualified, considerate and ethical adviser, you already have what you need to make these decisions, and these blanket philosophies and words of wisdom are inappropriate.

Guaranteed income is great for some but not for others. That is what factfinding and analysis is for.

Jane Hodges

Chief operating officer,

Alexander House Financial Services,

London