Pension and mortgage issues are the most common enquiries from people accessing a generic financial advice pilot scheme, according to the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) Moneyplan project.
The project, run alongside the Thoresen Review into generic financial advice, was run by 30 CAB offices with around 38 IFAs volunteering their time to help people with their finances.
The first year of the project has found that 73% of those using the service are aged over 50, and most have never spoken with an IFA before. As a result of the high age of consumers seeking advice, many of the queries related to retirement planning and endowment mortgages.
The pilot also found 50% of those using the service were retired or work part time, while 75% owned their own home. The CAB notes that many queries were related to equity release products, reflecting the age and tenure of participants.
The initial results have also revealed issues that need to be considered for any national rollout of generic financial advice services.
Robert Reid, president of the Personal Finance Society, says internet advice services will need to be carefully considered as most current services have a reading age of 18, while many of those using the CAB service had much lower reading abilities.
He also says considerable time was needed to get clients to articulate their problems fully, and advisers need to be skilled in ‘teasing’ the information out to ensure they help the client to the fullest.
The CAB will continue to run its pilot project in a select number of offices across the country, allowing it to closely monitor the service and come up with plans for rollout on a national basis.
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