Wednesday 23 May 2007

Generic financial advice and personal accounts

The Resolution Foundation held a seminar on Wednesday 23 May 2007 to discuss generic financial advice and personal accounts. With the Pensions Bill in the House of Lords and the Thoresen Review underway, its purpose was to discuss a framework of ‘advice protocols’ on which the generic financial advice that should accompany personal accounts could be based. The seminar was chaired by Sue Regan, Chief Executive of the Resolution Foundation, and was attended by a wide range of policy-makers and stakeholders.

The seminar began with a presentation by Nick Hurman, an independent consultant working with the Foundation, who presented a series of suggested advice protocols. Niki Cleal, Director of the Pensions Policy Institute (PPI), and Carole Willis, Head of the DWP’s Cross-cutting Pensions Analysis Division, responded to the presentation.

A roundtable discussion which followed the presentations began with a debate about the ‘philosophy’ behind the protocols, before moving on to discuss the protocols themselves. There was a significant amount of consensus that the protocols offer a sound framework on which to base this advice and, despite some concerns about their practical application, the ‘good advice’ and ‘bias to join’ principles were largely accepted. In developing the protocols further, it was suggested that a number of issues will require additional work.