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Guidance is not advice.

March 23, 2015

This is what George Osborne said in the 2014 Budget Speech, archived here.

And we’re going to introduce a new guarantee, enforced by law, that everyone who retires on these defined contribution pensions will be offered free, impartial, face-to-face advice on how to get the most from the choices they will now have.

Now, “advice” and “guidance” are two different things.  Guidance is someone telling you there are ISAs and this is how much interest they pay.  Advice is someone sitting down with you and asking you relevant questions and then recommending which ISA fits your personal circumstances.  Guidance can be a leaflet or a website: advice is personal and can be relied on.  As a general rule, you can’t sue someone who gives you accurate guidance if you make the wrong decision after reading it, whereas you might be able to claim you’d been missold a financial product if you followed advice that later turned out to be wrong.

Got that?

And this is the new Pension Wise website which offers government guidance but

Pension Wise won’t recommend any products or tell you what to do with your money.

Now, I haven’t gone back and watched the video of the 2014 Budget speech (I’m not THAT sad) nor checked the wording of the quotation above with the verbatim Hansard report.  But someone ought to.  Because, you know, if I’m right, George Osborne told Parliament something which was not true.  And isn’t that a resignation matter?

 

 

One comment

  1. It is an interesting point – I have been lecturing to accountants and tax advisors on the new pension rules and I have been stressing that we have to be careful not to give advice on what might be the best thing to do as it is probably not something you wanted to be sued over if it all goes a little pear shaped!



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