Phoenix GroupFeb 8 2023

More than 80% of savers see advisers as useful

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More than 80% of savers see advisers as useful

More than four-fifths of UK consumers (83 per cent) think advisers are a useful source of support, according to research by Standard Life, part of Phoenix Group.

The research, which surveyed 6,000 UK adults between September 6 and October 16, found this was up from 73 per cent the year before.

Over the past 12 months households have been hit by high inflation, rising interest rates and unsettled markets. 

The firm’s Retirement Voice study found this has taken its toll on consumer confidence and self-belief, with only 59 per cent feeling confident about making financial decisions, down from 63 per cent in 2022. 

Half (50 per cent) of UK consumers think information around pensions and retirement is overwhelming, with more than two in five (41 per cent) admitting they have no idea what to do next after receiving it.

Similarly, 76 per cent said speaking with their pension provider, or looking at information on their pension provider’s website, has been helpful.

Jenny Holt, managing director for customer savings and investments at Standard Life, said: “People are looking to trusted professionals for help in uncertain times and this has once again highlighted the value of having access to advice when making financial decisions, but it’s also thrown a spotlight on the current advice and guidance gap in the UK.

“The benefits of planning for the future and getting the right support at the right time is clear, but currently financial advice can seem inaccessible, and the existing system doesn’t allow providers to give personalised guidance that considers individual wants and needs.”

The research also found that 72 per cent said they found pension provider literature helpful, an increase from 65 per cent, and 69 per cent think help from their employer is useful, up from 62 per cent. 

Holt said: “The Financial Conduct Authority has opened a consultation into broadening access to financial advice, which is welcome, and we’d like to work with the government, regulator and our industry peers to create an environment where consistent, high quality and accessible guidance and advice can be provided.  

“At the same time, we need to find new ways to get more people to actively engage with their pension savings and planning for the future”.  

Taking control

There’s evidence that taking control of finances, with or without the support of a third party, pays off, according to the research.

It found that 93 per cent of planners on lower incomes - less than £20,000 - would say they’re enjoying their retirement, compared to 66 per cent of non-planners on lower incomes. 

However, 72 per cent of all respondents said they are doing little, if anything, to plan for their retirement.