CA Summit 2008: Corporate advisers more bullish over Personal Accounts and auto-enrolment

Two thirds of corporate advisers believe that the introduction of Personal Accounts and auto-enrolment will increase their firm’s assets under advice, compared to just 33 per cent of respondents to the same question last year.

Research carried out at the Corporate Adviser summit in October found that only 14 per cent expect their assets under advice to decrease after the 2012 changes, down from 24 per cent last year. A further 20 per cent envisage minimal impact compared to 37 per cent in the same poll in 2007.

This confidence is borne out of the fact that 82 per cent of corporate advisers expect less than 10 per cent of the workplace pensions they currently oversee switching over to Personal Accounts. Just 3 per cent expect to lose more than 30 per cent of their client-base and 15 per cent are anticipating between 10 and 20 per cent moving across.

However, firms are less confident about the opportunities presented by the fact that British companies will be required to offer contributory pensions for the first time. More than half – 53 per cent- of adviser firms said that those companies not providing pensions today are unlikely to want to pay for their services, up from 34 per cent last year.

The need for a targeted approach to winning business from these companies was again evident with 33 per cent only looking at firms with over 250 employees or above average salaried staff, compared to 34 per cent last year.

The majority of intermediaries are confident that providers will be able to create workplace pension products that will enable them to offer a differentiated solution to Personal Accounts. 80 per cent think providers will be up to scratch, an increase from 74 per cent last year, but 20 per cent remain either fairly or very unconfident that they can deliver. John Lawson said that although the RDR may be seen to have slipped down the FSA’s priority list given the current financial turmoil, advisers should not be complacent and start preparing clients for the changes ahead now to ensure they are prepared.