Better Business: Advisers urged to make better use of retirement cash planning tools

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Better Business: Advisers urged to make better use of retirement cash planning tools
ByIma Jackson-Obot

Financial advisers are not doing enough to take advantage of cash flow software tools when trying to help clients with retirement planning, Darren Cooke, director at Red Circle Financial Planning, has said.

Mr Cooke added: “I don’t think financial advisers properly use financial planning and cash planning to properly assess what clients need in retirement and how that can be best delivered. Too many advisers still focus on selling the product than doing the advice.

“Advisers should use cash planning software. That’s how you should be engaging with the clients and talking to them about their financial future. The retail distribution review has brought that to the fore.”

In a move to help advisers, some providers have started producing guidance on the key areas to consider when advising on retirement income.

Scottish Widows has said its centralised retirement proposition guide covers the “at-retirement” and “in-retirement” stages when a customer draws down their savings.

The guide brings together key themes that have become familiar to many advisers since pension freedoms were introduced and presents them as a structured retirement income guidance journey.

It is designed to be a thorough overview of the entire subject of retirement income planning.

Ronnie Taylor, director of distribution at Scottish Widows, said: “Pension freedoms have offered customers far greater choice and flexibility.

“However, this also means advisers are now taking on even greater responsibility for the retirement options they recommend, particularly when it comes to sustainable withdrawal strategies that aim to stop their clients running out of money. We have developed the guide to serve as an additional point of reference to help advisers meet the diverse needs of today’s clients.”

Mr Cooke said that while guides were useful, he would welcome one offering an unbiased point of view.

Peter Chadborn, director and adviser at Plan Money, said: “Guides such as this are useful for advisers, providing that they are reasonably generic and not too self-promotional.

“If not, they tend to be dismissed as marketing material. Subject areas like implementing sustainable retirement income is fundamentally important and so guides exploring different theories need to be considered and understood.”

Scottish Widows said the guide offered a comprehensive overview of all elements that made up planning for retirement income.

The key stages are:  

Retirement income fact-find: Understanding the relevant client income objectives, circumstances and financial situations.  

Risk assessment: The assessment of the ability and willingness to take risk matched to the client circumstances and objectives.  

Withdrawal options: The optimal way to withdraw money from a pension fund to meet the retirement income objectives.

Investment strategy: The selection of a suitable investment approach to best match the objectives of income and risk.