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By Michael Trudeau and Ashley Wassall | Published Sep 10, 2012

Three-quarters of workers demand access to financial advice

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Further evidence that incoming auto-enrolment rules could present a significant opportunity for advisers has seemingly been provided by a new report from Scottish Widows, which reveals close to three-quarters of workers feel their employer should provide access to regulated advice.

According to the study, 74 per cent of individuals said their employer should provide access to financial advice, with 30 per cent stating they would prefer face-to-face advice.

However, Scottish Widows stated that the high costs involved in delivering such a service could have a significant impact on the saver’s pension scheme if paid out of the fund, making it not worthwhile for lower-earning employees. The firm said therefore that “attractive alternatives need to be found.”

In addition to highlighting a future opportunity, the report suggests advisers could already be “missing a trick” on auto-enrolment, suggesting that a only a small proportion of workers with an adviser have been informed of the incoming rules by their intermediary.

Of the less than half of people that were aware of the new rules, only 1 per cent said they found out through their financial adviser.

Given that of the 5,200 people surveyed 15 per cent currently have a financial adviser and, with this group making up the majority of the ‘informed’ respondents, Scottish Widows said there is a role for advisers to step up their educational activities in this area.

Of the 780 respondents with an adviser just under half (49 per cent) had discussed pensions with their adviser, making it the most likely topic of conversation. Cash Isas came second place at 47 per cent, and mortgages tied with other investments for third and fourth place at 41 per cent.

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