Hundreds of advisers to offer pro-bono sessions to stir public's interest

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Advisers registered with IFA directory Unbiased are to offer free introductory advice sessions to consumers in a bid to stir interest in advice.

Unbiased advisers are to offer free 30-minute sessions on mortgages, pension arrangements, investments and general financial health.

Around 800 of the directory's advisers have signed up to the service, which will be trialled throughout the first quarter of the year, with a possible extension thereafter.

Unbiased CEO Karen Barrett (pictured) said the initiative was an attempt to "incentivise contact with advisers".

"At Unbiased we have worked hard over the past decade to get people to understand advice is not free. But we have to move with the time. Consumers these days expect offers and discounts, so we are trying to get into that theme," she said.

The sessions will take the form of straightforward reviews of people's financial situations, followed by adviser feedback on what their next steps should be.

They will not offer full fact finds or provide 'output' documents such as those planned for the government's free retirement guidance sessions.

Barrett said: "We are trying to give consumers the ammunition to make a decision whether advice is right for them or whether they should go down different avenues. It's about providing them with information and the journey that [suits their needs]."

The free checks were introduced in response to the government's pension reforms taking effect in April, which will give people more choice on how they want to structure their retirement income.

The government is offering free guidance sessions to help consumers navigate the retirement landscape, but Barrett said many people would benefit from advice over guidance.

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