3 months ago • 4 mins
abrdn regularly asks advisers through surveys and forums what issues and concerns are topping their agendas.
As part of its latest Adviser Quest survey, abrdn asked for the three changes advisers most want to see in the industry this year.
One answer came out on top – and by quite some distance. More than four in five (84%) advisers we asked want to see existing regulation simplified. That was followed by government action to reduce inflation (54%), and the introduction of measures to help maintain Britain’s status as a competitive global financial center (33%).
The results may not be a big surprise but they’re perhaps symptoms of two deeper issues that advisors want addressed. These are the desire for an environment that enables advisers to simply do their job of advising effectively. And, from a regulatory and macro-economic perspective, clarity and consistency on what’s happening next.
These are the core issues that are the foundations for planning with confidence, delivering good client outcomes, and growing a successful advice firm.
This year has already seen welcome steps towards simplification – albeit of pension policy – with the removal of the lifetime allowance (LTA) from April 2024 and the effective setting of the LTA charge at zero per cent this year.
With the Chancellor’s announcement at the Spring Budget, much of the complexity around pension savings has been untangled. The move signals a willingness by this government to simplify some of the intricacies around pension savings after years of small, isolated changes, made in good faith, but which generated increasing complication.
And, while there’s some speculation that this area of tax policy could be changed by a future government, it’s likely that any political party in power will want to avoid further unnecessary adjustments. It can’t be ruled out but hopefully we’d be more likely to see a holistic review of the pension and savings system in the UK, supported by a desire to keep processes and policy as simple and stable as possible. This would help to give advisors the confidence to advise based on established regulation, safe in the knowledge that it won’t change again a couple of years down the line.
The important point is that the removal of the lifetime allowance should also give more people more confidence in saving and planning for their futures. The government has taken a step in the right direction towards a society achieving better financial outcomes at retirement.
As an industry, we can focus on the opportunities the removal of the lifetime allowance brings. Client conversations, if they aren’t already, should be emphasizing what the change may mean for retirement savings.
Less policy and regulation complexity would also help to meet advisors’ need for efficiencies and help to create more capacity within firms – especially if it means protracted administrative processes can be eased.
Improving on efficiencies continues to be a long-term challenge for the industry.
But it’s an area where we can expect to see significantly more innovation in the not-too-distant future. Both automation and artificial intelligence (AI) are showing real promise to support advisor businesses with mundane, time-consuming, tasks.
Although AI has its limitations, the field is much larger than the conversational AIs that have been driving recent headlines. It’s a trusted technology that has been supporting many sectors for some time now, including advice.
As new tools and solutions are developed, there will be more opportunity for advice firms to benefit from them too. The advanced technology will complement the uniquely human skills an advisor has and means, ultimately, they can spend more time on what they’re uncommonly good at. In other words, providing that reassurance that clients value the most – the sensitive, complex, emotional part of advice.
By way of a prediction, automation and AI is technology that advisor firms will soon need to spend time considering its place – or more expansive use – in their operations.
As firms face into the ever-changing regulation and economic shifts, growth plans can only be slowed.
And that's just the present. What about the future? With increasing longevity and an increase in intergenerational transfers of wealth, firms need to create the capacity to meet clients’ evolving needs.
For abrdn's part, its ambition remains to help advisors to do less and achieve more, by supporting them to operate more efficiently. We want the advisors who turn to abrdn and entrust the firm with their clients’ wealth to focus on what matters the most – building relationships with clients for good outcomes.
The value of investments can go down as well as up and your clients could get back less than they paid in. The views expressed in this blog should not be regarded as financial advice.
Disclaimer: These articles are provided for information purposes only. Occasionally, an opinion about whether to buy or sell a specific investment may be provided. The content is not intended to be a personal recommendation to buy or sell any financial instrument or product, or to adopt any investment strategy as it is not provided based on an assessment of your investing knowledge and experience, your financial situation or your investment objectives. The value of your investments, and the income derived from them, may go down as well as up. You may not get back all the money that you invest. The investments referred to in this article may not be suitable for all investors, and if in doubt, an investor should seek advice from a qualified investment advisor.
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