Newfound financial freedom: pension reform update - what about the mass affluent?

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30 April 2015
Ashley Globerman
Today I had the pleasure of attending the Wealth Briefing Summit held at the prestigious Guildhall Art Gallery in London. The event consisted of 3 sessions and was led by a panel of industry experts who conversed about some of the most pertinent topics facing the UK wealth management industry today: pension reform, digital solutions, and personalized portfolio construction. While each of these sessions were of interest to me, I found the pension reform "debate" (in quotes as this was much more civilized than the recent PM election debates have been) particularly intriguing. Clearly, one of the solutions to navigating through the new pension rules will be advice from a wealth manager. But, as we know, not everyone wants this advice or can afford this advice. So what are the mass affluent going to do? This was a question raised by an audience member (and a fair one at that). After all, everyone is entitled to a pension and will presumably need some form of guidance in light of the reforms. I was surprised that not one of the panel members mentioned the idea of automated investment advisors; Nutmeg and insurers (who have created their own automated investment platform) have entered into the pension space. It's a good thing we're here (see our wealth management reports) ...anyway, I digress. Perhaps this is an indication that automated investment advisors have barely tapped into the UK wealth management market, or could it be that the panelists' firms are building their own robo advisor solutions, but are keeping this under wraps for the time being? Or, maybe traditional wealth managers are so out of touch with the mass affluent (we know this to be slightly true), that this question hadn't occurred to them previously? This is a thought-provoking topic in my opinion, and one that I look to explore further in an upcoming report about the UK retirement market.

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