Pension software provider Selectapension has unveiled its new automadated guidance tool for consumers with smaller pension pots and “less complex needs”.
In a statement today (12 September), Selectapension said the tool, called “Pension Monster”, would be used through advisers rather than marketed direct to consumers, adding it was designed to “complement” the advice process.
Customers would enter “some basic information” and from that the system would create a tailored report giving an overview of options, how much they would need to reach their retirement goals, and product suggestions from a variety of providers.
That report could then be sent back to their adviser in “readiness for any discussion” the statement said.
It said this report could help the adviser “determine the most appropriate service to offer their clients, for example a transactional service or a face to face meeting”.
Selectapension stated that the service was free to use. However, in a previous interview with FTAdviser in July, Selectapension national account director Peter Bradshaw said the firm’s long-term plan was to market Pension Monster direct to consumers. He said the firm was yet to decide upon a pricing structure for that service.
Andy McCabe, managing director at Selectapension said Pension Monster would allow advisers to “encourage more people to think about their retirement”, adding that its affordability would help address the advice gap that had “long been a concern in the industry”.
He went on: “The launch of Pension Monster highlights the digital advancement of our industry and will help narrow the prevalent advice gap by accessing the wider market. With Pension Monster, advisers can help their clients improve engagement with their pensions in a way that educates and informs them.”
Among the features and information provided by Pension Monster were: state pension information; existing pensions and investments information; a budget planner; comparisons of drawdown, guaranteed income and cash; tax implications; and product providers.
Gretchen Betts, a financial planner with Broadway Financial Planning, was sceptical about the need for such a tool, though she conceded that every adviser had “their own way of finding information out”.
“I prefer the client to tell me the information directly, and build rapport with them, rather get them to fill in a questionnaire,” she said.
She said robo-advice and guidance had a place for people in the “very early stage of accummulation”, but added: “For advanced pension planning I’m not convinced there is a place.”