Pensions  

Providers fail to push pension advice allowance

Providers fail to push pension advice allowance

Pension providers have so far shied away from marketing a key measure introduced following the Financial Advice Market Review, raising questions about whether the policy will be used.

The Pension Advice Allowance was launched a month ago to allow savers to pay for pension advice by accessing up to £1,500 of their retirement savings.

But since it was launched pension providers have reported very little interest.

HM Treasury has said it is the responsibility of these providers to market the allowance, but none of those asked by Financial Adviser had any firm plans to do so.

A Scottish Widows spokesman, said: “We have not seen much demand in the first month, although we would expect to see demand for the pensions advice allowance to build up steadily in future years.

“We are currently developing the functionality, aiming to launch later in the year on our current workplace pensions.”

Meanwhile Aviva said it had seen “very little” demand and it had not made any decisions on promoting the allowance.

Aegon UK also said there had been little demand but said it would monitor whether this changed before deciding where the allowance set in its priorities.

A Royal London spokeswoman suggested it was leaving it to advisers to promote the allowance to their clients.

She said: “Royal London has received just a handful of enquires for details on the Pension Advice Allowance.

“As Royal London’s pension business is written through advisers, the availability of the pension advice allowance is something that advisers are well placed to explain to their clients, if and where appropriate.

“Based on adviser feedback, we may include reference to the Pension Advice Allowance in support material in the future.

The pension advice allowance was recommended in the Financial Advice Market Review which was published last year.

HM Treasury originally intended to allow the tax-free withdrawal of a single £500 payment but increased this to three withdrawals of £500 after a consultation period.

Andrew Whiteley, director of Provisio Wealth, said: "Without some fanfare and people being made aware they have this facility, I cannot see many people using it, and once they realise it is their own money I cannot see them use if further.

"We don't tend to deal with clients that don't have the wherewithal to be able to pay us for our time."

Legal & General and Standard Life, as well as HM Treasury, were asked to comment but did not respond.

damian.fantato@ft.com