Fidelity launches retirement planning service
The service offers guidance, advice and access to a range of retirement income options including annuities, pension drawdown and income generating investments.
The launch comes just a day after the Government announced that the Pensions Advisory Service (TPAS) and the Money Advice Service (MAS) would be responsible for providing the free retirement guidance promised by George Osborne in his 2014 Budget.
While Fidelity is legally required to direct their customers to these organisations according to James Burton, UK managing director, its new service is “absolutely in the spirit of the guidance guarantee.” The service will offer guidance via online articles, checklists, guides and videos as well as representatives available over the phone.
While a general discussion of retirement options will be free of charge, actual advice – described by Fidelity as any answer to the question, “What should I do?” – will be charged according to complexity. For a simple case the cost could be £750, while more complex cases could be as much as £2,500.
The investment firm has pledged to provide consumers with a fixed, free quote before proceeding with chargeable advice.
Fidelity’s offering includes three new income planning tools – a Retirement Income Estimator, a Budget Tool and a Retirement Options Quiz – and a ‘Safety Net Check’, a service where Fidelity reviews the retirement choices of its self-directed customers to ensure they are not making an irreversible mistake.
According to Fidelity’s figures 47 per cent of customers have required such a call since the start of 2014, with 28 per cent of those called deciding to alter their decision following the discussion.
Richard Parkin, head of retirement at Fidelity, said: “A good retirement is about confidence. You can give people confidence by helping them to make good decisions, but also by helping them to avoid bad decisions. Expert help and guidance has to take centre stage.”
Burton added: “Fidelity is different to traditional pension and annuity providers. We are investment experts with a long experience in the retirement markets. Our primary concern is about getting customers to the right outcome and to help them now, not in nine months’ time.”