James Coney  

Independence will be key to advice for all

James Coney

James Coney

Occasionally you hear mooted suggestions for a guaranteed minimum income before you can access the freedoms.

However, this is just freedom for the rich, but not the poor – which is not an ideal situation.

The solution has to be an advice market open to everyone.

The problem is cost. We need to find a radical way to fund retirement advice.

I have said before, employers need to come up with a solution.

More radical still would be if it were to come from a levy docked from pension funds every year – a tiny fraction of a per cent put aside to pay for some very simple financial advice.

Truly independent advice is the only way to steer through more scandals in the future.

Look to yourself

One of my ongoing gripes at the moment is the PR campaign by the Association of Investment Companies to score points over unit trusts regarding liquidity.

The Neil Woodford scandal raised legitimate concerns over the holding of illiquid stocks in open-ended funds.

But where was the AIC to warn of this before Mr Woodford had to gate his Equity Income fund?

Its rhetoric now seems solely designed to push savers into investment trusts.

And it conveniently forgets that the investment trust sector has some very serious unanswered questions of its own over the Woodford affair.

His Patient Capital trust has fallen heavily and has been riddled with accusations that the board lacked independence because of its link to Mr Woodford.

Probably better to fix the hole in your own roof before laughing at your neighbour’s leaks.

Google it

Another week, another reader points me to a rogue investment website that has popped up on the internet.

There it is, offering returns of 7 per cent a day (yes, I know), hiding in plain sight.

One day someone at the FCA enforcement division must learn to use Google.

James Coney is money editor at the Sunday Times

@jimconey