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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Only 8% of people speak to an advisor about their financial decisions

A recent survey by Aegon has found that only 8% of people in the UK speak to a financial advisor about the decisions they make, with 47% making them on their own.

Low take-up of advice 'very worrying' ©Shutterstock
Low take-up of advice 'very worrying' ©Shutterstock

This is despite previous research showing that just 14% are confident about planning their retirement goals and investing themselves, with only 20% comfortable deciding how to access their pension independently.

The government launched their Financial Advice Market Review (FAMR) in 2015 to examine how guidance could work better for customers, and announced plans last year to give pre-retirees access to £500 of their pension pot to pay for advice.

Aegon pension director, Steven Cameron, said: “The low take-up of financial advice is very worrying. Greater personal responsibility for retirement planning, combined with increased levels of economic and political uncertainty, mean people need professional financial advice more than ever.

“In fact there are few people who wouldn’t benefit from financial advice at some point in their lives, especially since the introduction of pension freedoms.

“Our findings emphasise the scale of the task facing the FAMR in making advice and guidance more accessible. It’s important the FAMR delivers on the recommendations made last year and opens up access to advice in its widest sense.

“The new Pension Advice Allowance may be one means of starting to bridge the pension advice gap. But we must also recognise there are reasons beyond cost that people might not seek financial advice that also need to be addressed as an industry.”

Aegon believe that it can be overwhelming for some people not knowing where to start when seeking advice, while the fear of cost can also deter some. However they are keen to stress that there is reliable support to be found and that paying for advice maybe more affordable than many think.

“People shouldn’t feel they have to make financial decisions on their own. For some, the support they need may be relatively simple and there are free sources of guidance available, for example from Pension Wise on pension freedoms,” Cameron continued.

“Providers and possibly their employers can also provide basic information. But for the more important or difficult decisions people should seriously consider paying for financial advice.

“In many cases, the benefits of getting things right can far outweigh the costs. It might be money well spent to ensure they are doing the best they can with their finances for their financial futures.”