Market volatility and retirement top financial adviser client concerns

Clients are increasingly turning to their financial advisers for information on market volatility and retirement planning as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to new research from Standard Life.

Two-thirds (66 per cent) of respondents to Standard Life’s bi-annual survey of 250 UK financial advisers said they are now more likely to receive enquiries from clients on market volatility and its impact on investments than they were before the pandemic.

Four in ten (41 per cent) are more likely to receive enquiries around retirement planning and a fifth (23 per cent) are more likely to receive estate planning requests.

A further fifth (23 per cent) report a higher likelihood of enquiries around protection planning, while just 13 per cent of advisers say they are more likely to receive queries around equity release.

Caroline Miller, UK Distribution Director at Standard Life, says: “2020 has brought significant disruption and uncertainty to financial markets. Amid these conditions, advisers have been a source of clarity, reassurance and guidance for their clients.

“It is clear that the events from the last nine months have prompted many individuals to rethink their plans for the future, including retirement. With the impact of the pandemic still very much with us, advisers will continue to play a key role in helping their clients navigate complex decisions and to identify the best paths forward for their specific circumstances.”

Meanwhile, advisers have become less optimistic about the UK’s ongoing economic recovery than they were in April. 

Of those surveyed by Standard Life, 57 per cent said they were optimistic about the UK’s economic recovery over the next 12 months, ten points fewer than in Q2 2020. 

However, advisers maintain a positive outlook when it comes to their own prospects.

Nine in ten (93 per cent) are optimistic about their own job (95 per cent in Q2), while a further nine in ten (93 per cent) are optimistic about the prospects of their firm (96 per cent in Q2).

Advisers also remain confident about the health of future client rosters, with 84 per cent optimistic about taking on new clients in the next 12 months, compared to 85 per cent in Q2.

Caroline added: “Even amid challenging economic conditions, it is hugely encouraging to see advisers report such strong confidence in their own prospects.

“The continued provision of solutions, including platform technology, that maximise value and suitability will play a big part in enabling them to continue to deliver excellent client service and grow their businesses.”

Data for Standard Life’s Quest report was collected between 5th October and 18th October 2020.  250 UK advisers who work with Standard Life took part in the survey.  

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