DB advice supply not meeting demand

Three-quarters of advisers believe that the defined benefit advice market is not working as effectively as it could be, with the supply of advice not meeting customer demand.

Research from Aegon revealed that 89 per cent of advisers thought that there are still many savers who would benefit from advice, and 55 per cent said that demand remains high.

Furthermore, only a quarter of responding advisers believed that most consumers interested in transferring their savings have already taken advice.

Aegon said that the supply of advice is being “hampered through regulatory complexity and the inability of many firms to obtain affordable professional indemnity cover”.

Additionally, DB pension advisers also believed that there were not enough advisers, with only 36 per cent saying that there was a sufficient number to meet demand.

Commenting on the findings, Aegon pensions director, Steven Cameron, said: “Whilst transfers volumes have declined from a peak at the beginning of last year, demand for such advice remains high and continues to outstrip supply.

“Transferring is not the right way forward for the majority of people with DB pensions, but the market is not working effectively if people are unable to obtain advice to even explore their options.

“This means it’s important to resolve the current issues including professional indemnity difficulties which are discouraging advisers who are active in this market from continuing to offer DB advice.”

Aegon also found that 69 per cent of advisers believed that the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) was going too far in its recommendations not to transfer.

Earlier this month, the FCA said there was "too much advice" that is not of an "acceptable standard", and warned active firms that it will be stepping up its engagement with them.

The regulator found that 69 per cent of members that received advice were recommended to transfer, which it believed was too high.

However, Personal Finance Society chief executive, Keith Richards, warned that the FCA's figures were "not representative of the wider financial advice community".

He continued: “It is important that reporting of failings is proportionate and does not misrepresent the majority or erode public trust more broadly.

“It is equally important that the profession and professional indemnity insurers do not over-react to this latest FCA data and automatically think there is a widespread problem with the defined benefit transfer advice being given by the entire financial advice profession."

Aegon also revealed that 58 per cent of respondents said that the market is being harmed by the lack of an effective triage facility.

Cameron added: “Aegon is particularly supportive of introducing a form of triage that would allow advisers to offer individuals some initial help to assess whether it is worth progressing to advice on transferring.

“Unless the current log jam is eased, we’ll be left with an increasing number of people whose advice needs can’t be met because of a lack of supply, leaving them unable to explore their options, a situation which is in no one’s interest.”

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