Which? looking to expand financial services range beyond mortgages

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Consumer organisation Which? is looking to add an annuities service to the list of financial services that it provides to consumers.

In 2010 it launched a mortgage broking arm called Which? Mortgage Advisers under the umbrella of Which? Financial Services.

In a recent interview with Mortgage Strategy, Which? Mortgage Advisers managing director Mike Lawton said that any decision to offer more products would be based on demand.

He said: “But we will only ever step into other financial services areas when we know we can do it in the right way, we can do it independently, impartially and it’s right for the consumer and the we have the infrastructure and resource to do it.”

Which? has now confirmed it is developing a new service, called Which? Annuity Advisers, that will offer advice on products from across the annuity market.

It says savers who use the new service will also have the option of buying an annuity without receiving advice. The non-advised annuity service will provide users with quotes from the whole of the market.

A Which? spokesman refuses to confirm how much consumers will pay for annuity advice or whether it will receive commission from providers through the non-advised service.

The spokesman says: “Which? is developing an annuity advice service to help consumers find the best solution for their retirement income.

“This will include a free website with practical, jargon-free information as well as paid-for, personalised and unbiased annuities advice from impartial advisers working across the whole of the market.

“The non-advised offering will provide all of the necessary quotes and information for consumers, as well as the ability to transact.”

Which? has not yet set a date for the launch of the service.

Worldwide Financial Planning IFA Nick McBreen says: “I am very concerned that Which? is looking to do both non-advised and advised because non-advised is a nightmare.

“Even with advice, if you are just looking at annuities, there is still a risk the customer will end up with the wrong product.”