Nine out of 10 intermediaries believe the advent of pension freedoms sparked the biggest shift in client attitudes in the past decade, according to a Panacea Adviser survey.
The next most popular response came from just under 5 per cent of the 414 advisers polled who cited "self-medication" – where clients form their own opinions via the internet – as the biggest change among clients over the same time period.
What is more, only 4 per cent of advisers believe clients have become more concerned about data protection as a result of the increased use of technology.
Derek Bradley, chief executive at Panacea, which offers an online support hub for advisers, said: “The financial services industry rarely stands still and the past 10 years have been no exception.
“Over this time we’ve witnessed seismic regulatory changes in both regulation and legislation, but while the RDR has almost certainly had the most profound impact at an industry level, it’s arguably the pension freedoms that will have been most keenly, and largely positively, felt by the end consumer.
“Recent figures have highlighted the immediate impact of the new pension rules, such as the £9.2bn revealed by HMRC to have been accessed by savers since the reforms were first announced.”
Dhawal Chandan, director and chartered financial planner at Glasgow-based Just Financial Group, said: “Generally speaking, the mass affluent market never viewed financial advice as a necessary service prior to the pension freedoms. The changes to pensions have got people talking and are prompting many to be proactive and seek independent financial advice. The advice industry needed the pension freedoms.
“I can’t recall another event that has occurred in the recent past that has resulted in a shift in client attitude to the same extreme.”