Pensions 

Good pension advice is hard to find for half of savers

Good pension advice is hard to find for half of savers

Almost half (45 per cent) of UK savers find it fairly difficult or very difficult to access good advice about pensions, research has revealed.

A survey conducted by YouGov for law firm Burges Salmon, which polled 2,034 adults in August, also showed that 67 per cent of respondents said they don’t understand the products – such as assets or funds - in which it is possible to invest a pension.

Furthermore, 58 per cent of savers don't think their workplace pension alone will provide sufficient income to live off in retirement.

Kari McCormick, partner in the dispute resolution team and head of Burges Salmon’s financial services sector group, argued the research shows many people find it hard to access good advice, they do not understand the products available nor do they believe their pensions will provide sufficient income.

She said: "This presents a great opportunity for the pensions industry to develop straightforward, useful, easy to use products for consumers, which will make retirement planning as simple and effective as it can possibly be."

The majority of respondents (59 per cent) argued it would help them to save for their retirement if their pension contribution rate were to increase automatically at set intervals, such as when their salary increases.

Auto-enrolment minimum contributions will increase to 8 per cent in 2019, after increasing to 5 per cent this year.

Nevertheless, there aren't any other planned hikes so far, with the government pledging to review minimum contributions after the 2019 planned increase is completed.

According to Nathan Long, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, if people were confused about how to manage their personal finances, or how the stock market works, it can't be surprising that they lack confidence in later life when it comes to panning for their financial future.

He said: "Our evidence shows that people do have the appetite to manage their money, they just need regular help and information to build their confidence.

"The industry often shuns the topic of investing, in favour of trying to get people to pay more in as it is an easier message to understand, but this approach doesn’t help resolve any wider issues."

Jeannie Boyle, director & chartered financial planner at EQ Investors, argued that the survey results are alarming.

"But providing advice is expensive and we know the costs are beyond the budget of most people. Even the £500 pension advice allowance doesn’t cover the cost of providing personalised advice," she said.

She added: "Financial Planning week has been successful in allowing individuals to get a better understanding of their finances but relies on advisers giving up their time. 

"Employers have a role to play – we have found financial education workshops to be a valuable part of our workplace offering.”

maria.espadinha@ft.com

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