Standard Life to roll out adviser support programme

Standard Life to roll out adviser support programme

The major challenge post-pension freedoms is not building new products but streamlining the advice process to ensure demand is met, Standard Life has said as it promises to roll out a series of development to support advisers.

Speaking at the launch of the provider’s ‘Generation Advice Programme’, its head of adviser propositions and strategy David Tiller shared research which found that 83 per cent of more than 800 advisers have already seen an increase in demand since the 6 April changes.

Mr Tiller committed the company to a rolling programme of developments to support advisers, including ‘systemisation’ of complex processes like asset migration, back office integration, tax optimisation, client income withdrawals, capital gains tax modelling and strategy execution.

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Mike Hogg, Standard Life’s head of platform strategy, explained that the firm will be launching a tax optimisation tool in August, to help advisers guide clients through their new options, along with adviser-led investment ‘insourcing’.

“Insourcing is the new outsourcing, it maintains control whilst having specialists managing money on the adviser’s favoured platform, rather than being all or nothing,” he said, adding that the migration capability will be going live soon, following around £200m already having been moved onto the hub during the first quarter this year.

Mr Hogg continued that they were also adopting best policy from the US, in terms of the adoption of withdrawal policies that lay out in what circumstances money can be drawn down from pension pots.

He mentioned that in adviser discussions, 95 per cent of them were unaware of this as a possibility, but that it could vastly improve portfolio sustainability and make a real difference in tough markets, without huge technology investment or great expense.

Standard Life will also include a back book client safety net, providing an ongoing non-advised service to clients where full advice is not economically viable.

Also present at the launch was Carl Lamb, Almary Green managing director, who said that while advisers were seeing opportunities from those with large and small pension pots, the danger was in the middle ground.

He stated that if people do not want to go through the full advice process, they simply will not talk to them, given “insistent client fluff” guidance from the regulator and having one eye on professional indemnity insurance.

Earlier this month, the Financial Conduct Authority said that advisers were free to give advice to so-called ‘insistent clients’, but advisers must make it clear to the clients - and document it - the risks associated with the alternative course of action and that the client is acting against your advice.

Mr Lamb said: “We introduced a minimum fee of £1,500 to price out the bottom of the market, we’re already at capacity and don’t want any more clients,” commented Mr Lamb, adding that without more work to meet demand for at-retirement advice, this could be a mis-selling “disaster” that makes “PPI look like a walk in the park”.