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Half of advisers get boost from Budget pension reform

Half of advisers get boost from Budget pension reform

Over half of advisory firms (53 per cent) have claimed they have already seen a positive impact on their businesses as a result of the pension reforms, according to Fundsnetwork.

The platform commissioned Opinium to survey 209 advisers during January about their views and understanding of the Budget 2014 retirement rules.

It found that while over half of firms have already seen a boost to their business, 42 per cent pointed out they have yet to feel the benefits of the reforms, indicating many firms are still waiting for the expected increased demand for advice to materialise.

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Looking at the 53 per cent of firms that have already witnessed a positive impact to their bottom line, just under half (47 per cent) said the main benefit has been an increase in the number of business enquiries on at-retirement options.

Of this group that have seen increased volumes of enquires, 73 per cent have seen enquiries on at-retirement options grow by up to 25 per cent, while 23 per cent have seen this go up by 26 to 50 per cent.

In terms of overall industry impact, the same firms who saw a positive boost to their businesses also felt the reforms had raised consumer awareness of the need to plan for retirement (21 per cent), while a quarter believed consumer confusion had created a greater need for advice.

Just 5 per cent thought the limitations of guidance had highlighted the need for regulated advice.

Jon Everill, head of advisory services at Fundsnetwork, said he always suspected the new pension rules would be a shot in the arm for the financial advice profession.

He said: “The results from our survey are extremely encouraging and not only show that pensions are firmly back in the consumer spotlight but also demonstrate that the increased interest around pensions is already having a positive material impact on advisory firms.

“However, the impact of the new rules goes further than just putting pensions back in the spotlight; they’ve actually started changing people’s perceptions and attitudes around investing.”

Many in the industry see the April changes as a huge opportunity, with the potential advice gap being one of the main drivers behind Standard Life’s move into the adviser market for instance.

peter.walker@ft.com