Around 2.6 million people look to their employers for help with retirement planning, increasing the demand to provide access to pension advice, research from Barings Asset Management has revealed
This represents an increase of 1.2 million people from 2008, said the firm. It believes that employers are set to play an 'ever-growing' role as a result of auto-enrolment. Of the 1,581 workers surveyed, 14% said that it was their employer's responsibility to ensure they fully understood the asset allocation of their pension fund.
However, 21% of those surveyed said that they would prefer an independent financial adviser, while 12% said they would rely on family and friends and 16% said they would use their bank or building society.
Marino Valensise, chief investment officer at Barings, said it was encouraging that IFAs remain the most popular source of financial planning advice for consumers.
He said: 'The importance of an IFA's expert knowledge cannot be underplayed when it comes to effective, long-term financial planning.'
'It is interesting to note, however, the significant and complementary role that employers and IFAs are set to have in helping people plan for their retirement,' Valensise continued.
'While the onus remains on employees to seek independent third party advice at the point of being auto-enrolled, the remit of employer responsibility is growing in the consumer's eyes.'
The research also found that around 20% people do all their financial planning themselves and that a similar proportion of respondents stated they had chosen their fund allocations themselves.
However, nearly half of workers reported that they did not know where their money was invested, while a third said that their money is invested in a default option. Of those that chose the default option, 10% said the process was not explained at all while 41% did not describe the explanation as good.
'Many of the decisions in the lead-up to, and just before, retirement cannot be undone and it is essential that the best choices are made as soon as possible,' said Valensise.
'While it is important for people to have a clear understanding of the investments they own, the underlying asset allocations and their risk profile, many of the decisions around planning for our retirement are just too important and they should look to consult the advice of a professional.'