Free advice service for pensioners proposed

Financial advisers could be commissioned by the government to offer free financial advice to asset rich, cash poor pensioners following a report from a think tank.

The Institute for Public Policy Research says the Pension White Paper failed to address the issue of whether pensioners should be given help when deciding whether to sell their homes.

IPPR’s report argues that a government advice service could explain to pensioners living in big houses but on small incomes whether it is in their financial interest to trade down by selling their house and moving to a smaller one or using an equity release scheme.

It estimates this service would cost around 7m and could be staffed by IFAs working on a pro bono basis.

However, Stuart Wilson, managing director of the Equity Release Advisory Service, says: “There is an important message in this proposal. Pensioners don’t always know what their options are and this is the reason why equity release isn’t a bigger product. The question is, who funds this – the private sector or central government?”