Advisers believe the number of couples and families seeking joint advice on retirement planning will increase as a result of the recent pension freedom rule changes, according to new research by Prudential.
Intermediaries estimate that couples already make up more than 40% of their client base while wider family groups account for 17%. However advisers expect these figures to rise as a result of pension freedoms – 68% expect to advise more couples in the future and 46% expect more family groups.
Prudential said its research results suggest that the pension freedoms may have been having an impact on the numbers of couples and families seeking joint financial advice even before they came into force in April this year. 33% of advisers reported an increase in couples and families in their client base over the last 12 months.
The changes to pension rules that were initially announced in March 2014 and came in to force in April 2015 not only enabled access to defined contribution pension savings lump sums for those over 55 as part of the increased flexibility, but will also allow many savers to pass on their pension pot to others tax free for the first time.
When asked to predict which aspects of financial advice would become more important to families and couples in the light of the new pension freedoms, advisers highlighted inheritance tax planning, tax minimisation and planning for retirement income as the most likely.
Vince Smith-Hughes, retirement income spokesperson at Prudential, said: “Advisers are telling us that the shape of their client base is changing. Best practice in retirement and legacy planning has always been for couples to make well informed joint decisions. But recent changes mean that for some people it’s now also important to involve their wider families in the planning and decision making process.
“The choices now faced by those who have saved through their working life and the implications of these choices mean that, more than ever, professional financial advice should be a valuable part of retirement planning for most people. The free and impartial guidance available from the government’s Pension Wise service should also prove extremely valuable to anyone over the age of 50 with defined contribution pension savings.”