A new study by VouchedFor shows pension providers have moved away from signposting consumers toward third-party financial advisers.
Looking at the websites of 15 major pension providers, only three signposted consumers toward a financial adviser directory on their most prominent page about financial advice. Three promoted their own financial advice services as the dominant option, and one promoted it alongside external sources of help.
Most commonly, consumers are signposted toward government guidance services – Money Helper and PensionWise – with 8 out of 15 pension providers taking this route.
Adam Price, VouchedFor founder, said of the results, “This can’t be the right outcome for consumers. As an industry, we’re not helping consumers understand that guidance and advice exist as two separate options, each of which will be right for different people.”
This landscape is in contrast to years gone by, where Unbiased.co.uk was the industry’s default destination for any consumers in need of advice. No longer a trade-body, Unbiased is now more focused on its consumer-matching services; the service attracted criticism in September after increasing its pricing nearly ten-fold.
Looking deeper into the pension providers’ websites, across the 1,862 pages referencing a source of advice or guidance, Unbiased was still mentioned on 39% of pages. With most of these pages being older, it confirms how signposting strategies have shifted.
Adam continues, “At VouchedFor, we want to give pension providers the best possible adviser directory to signpost consumers towards. We’ve already built a directory that undertakes more checks – and inspires more consumer trust – than any other. This year, we’re committed to improving consumer access to advice. That means making sure our directory represents every good adviser; that’s a big focus for us this year.
“We are also ramping up our engagement with providers. We can help them better connect consumers with either guidance, internal advice, or external advice, as determined by consumer need. We’ve connected over 250k consumers with advice, so we’ve certainly learned a thing or two.”