On 2 September 2014, the Money Advice Service (MAS) issued a press release announcing that it will launch a new specialist financial adviser directory to make it easier for consumers to find an adviser as they approach retirement and beyond, in recognition of the pension reforms announced in the Budget 2014 to be introduced from April 2015.
The announcement follows a consultation published by the MAS earlier this year, in which it consulted on the creation of the new adviser directory, which will include advisers who specialise in retirement advice.
The majority of respondents to the consultation agreed that:
- a new adviser directory could help towards providing a solution for consumers seeking regulated retirement advice; and
- the MAS is an appropriate organisation to host the directory (it will be built and hosted within the MAS' existing website);
The MAS aims to launch the new directory by April 2015, to coincide with the new retirement guidance service. The Financial Conduct Authority is currently consulting on retirement reforms and the guidance guarantee (CP14/11), and is due to publish a policy statement in the fourth quarter of 2014.
Advisers will not have to pay to be listed in the MAS directory, but the MAS is in the process of establishing an independent panel of consumer and industry representatives to set the criteria for inclusion. In particular, the panel will determine whether the directory should contain only details of retirement specialists or include advisers covering all areas of regulated financial advice. The panel will also be asked to agree on how best to incorporate fees and charges into the directory, to enable consumers to compare the costs of products and services more accurately.