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FCA consultation: retirement reforms and guaranteed guidance

Response from the Chartered Insurance Institute

The CII group's response to the FCA's consultation on retirement reforms and the guaranteed guidance (GG).

  • We concur with the Financial Conduct Authority's (FCA) proposed standards. These are in line with what the CII proposed in its response to the original HM Treasury (HMT) consultation, and so we agree with the approach taken.
  • We continue to emphasise the importance of training and expertise for those giving GG. Consumer research that we have recently undertaken indicates that those most likely to use this service score staff expertise as highly in importance to them as impartiality. So the Government and FCA should take this as seriously as it is taking impartiality.
  • In relation to making customers aware of GG, although we agree with the general thrust of the proposed rule changes for firms' relations with customers, the Government needs to look more closely at how it can more efficiently influence consumer action through, for example, specially coloured official letters.
  • We look forward to further detail on the Government's plans for accrediting its delivery partners, particularly those organisations beyond the Money Advice Service (MAS) and the Pensions Advisory Service (TPAS), and revalidating them on an ongoing basis. The public deserves a robust and consistently high standard of guidance delivery. This can only be policed through such an accreditation and revalidation process of both the organisations offering GG and those staff members actually delivering it and/or overseeing its delivery.

Next steps

The CII remains willing to work with the FCA, HMT and the market to arrive at the right level of standards, and then help develop training, accreditation and revalidation solutions as required. In the meantime, we will be publishing the wider results of our consumer research in mid-October.

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Related documents:

CII Policy Briefing. Freedom & choice in pensions - HM Treasury response and FCA consultation 

CII Response. Freedom & choice in pensions - HM Treasury consultation

CII Policy Briefing. The Chancellor's pension reforms and the "right to guidance"

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