Accountants allowed to charge for stakeholder pensions advice following government cave-in

Social Services secretary Alastair Darling announced thedecision in Parliament after confirming the 1% limit will remainfor providing information and general advice and other operatingcosts.

He also exempted employers with fewer than five staff fromhaving to run an employee pension scheme and employers who offera group personal pension to which they contribute at least 3% ofemployees’ earnings – with the exemptions to be reviewed inthree years time.

Darling said schemes may provide individual financial advicewithin the 1% limit if they wish – but will be allowed tocharge a separate fee.

The additional charges will cover additional services offeredas an option.

The Financial Services Authority will be responsible for therules surrounding the promotion and marketing of schemes,including the provision of advice, for the pensions, which it isplanned should be available to the public from April next year.

Mr Darling, in a written reply to a question in the Commons,said schemes would be barred from making additional charges fortransfers into stakeholder pensions or for transfers to otherschemes.

Pensions at stake

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