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CAB denies dictating what advisers can discuss with clients

CAB denies dictating what advisers can discuss with clients

Citizens Advice has denied dictating what advisers may talk to their clients about during pro-bono sessions organised through a joint venture with the Personal Finance Society.

Concerns had been raised that advisers taking part in MoneyPlan, which involves Personal Finance Society members offering pro-bono advice via Citizens Advice, were being told to refer people to Pension Wise if they had defined contribution pension savings they wanted to discuss.

But a spokeswoman for Citizens Advice said the organisation was not dictating what advisers could discuss in MoneyPlan sessions, saying the referral to Pension Wise of DC savers was a suggestion.

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She confirmed that Money Plan sessions covered all aspects of financial planning.

She added: “The guidance is that if it comes up that they have a DC pension you should refer them to Pension Wise to talk about it, but what is discussed is the decision of the adviser.

“If someone really wants to talk about their DC pension, it is entirely for the adviser (to decide) whether they do or not.”

She added the Money Plan sessions were intended to be “tasters” for proper financial advice and are meant to cover all aspects of someone’s finances, so referring them to Pension Wise can free up time to discuss other issues.

Unlike Pension Wise, MoneyPlan does not have a lower age limit so the people using it may be ineligible for the government service, which is also run by Citizens Advice.

Keith Richards, chief executive of the Personal Finance Society, said: “The procedure in the first instance is that any questions which are related to a DC pension would go to Pension Wise but they may end up being referred back.

“We have been very pleased with the progress and take-up of MoneyPlan and we met recently with Citizens Advice to move into the next phase.

“There are currently 47 Citizens Advice Bureaux which want to have MoneyPlan.”

MoneyPlan is currently operated across 98 bureaux by 176 PFS members and Mr Richards said he and Citizens Advice are now working on a plan to expand its coverage and improve the promotion of the scheme.

Adviser view:

Colin Low, managing director of Suffolk-based Kingsfleet Wealth, said: “We don’t take part in MoneyPlan but we are prepared to offer pro-bono advice.

“You could argue it is best for someone to have their arrangements looked at in their entirety but we have got to be mindful of the fact that there will be people out there who need a lot of things doing.”