Monday, 31 December 2012

Half don't know they've been paying for advice

Oh dear! You thought you were getting something for free and now you discover you were paying through the nose all along.

Paying as much as 8% of the money you put in.

We so want to believe that we are getting a bargain, that we don't ask questions and don't read the small print.

A third of people think that financial advice is free, even though a chunk of  the money tucked away by investors and pension savers gets slipped back to adviser by the investment company as commission.

That's according to market research from the Financial Services Authority, based on questions to over 2,000 members of the public.

Even worse than that, half of those who were actually getting financial advice thought it was free.

From today, commission on selling investments and pensions is banned. (Although see this comment from one pension expert who says there's a loophole.)

In theory, the new system forces advisers to be open about their charges, negotiating a fee with the customer before the transaction.

So you'll know where you stand stand - and there's less chance of being sold the wrong investment or pension, just because a provider pays more commission.

But investors will still need to watch out. The new fees can be paid in a variety of ways, by instalments for instance, and they could still be large.

It'll be vital to research what a reasonable fee might be and to try out different advisers, or financial planners.


  1. Commission for selling pension products is a live and well still today. It is the way most people will pay for help with buying pension products at retirement.

    To be fair to the journalists involved, the FSA has chosen to say nothing on the subject.

    If you do not give a personal recommendation on what product is suitable then you can still take a commission from helping someone buy a financial product.

    If you Google "Annuity Advice"; you will see nearly all the sources of help offering the sort of advice that is exempt from these new rules. Just look at the adverts for "Free Advice". It is all legal.

  2. Interesting point Alan - thanks