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Two thirds of UK advisers see an increase in number of active clients, says Aviva

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Some 69% of all UK advisers have seen the size of their ‘active’ client base increase in the last twelve months, a significant move from the 28% in September 2013, according to Aviva.

The company’s latest Adviser Barometer survey reveals that the largest proportion (31%) said the main source of new clients has come from new entrants to the market, rather than former clients of other advisers (23%).

Additionally, three out of five advisers (61%) say they have seen an increase in the number of people aged 55+ seeking advice since the pension reforms were announced in March 2014. A half (46%) have also seen an increase in demand from 65+ age group.

When asked about the approach they recommend to their clients looking to secure an income for their retirement, two thirds (67%) of advisers said they recommend a mix of income drawdown and annuity; with more than a third (37%) saying the solution is weighted mostly towards income drawdown. Only 8% now recommend an annuity as a standalone product, and one in seven (15%) suggest income drawdown only.

The analysis shows consistency in the type of advice model selected by advisers. Four out of five (79%) advisers continue to offer independent advice, a fall of 4% over the last 12 months (83% in Sept 13), and 16% are now offering restricted advice (up from 13% in Sept 13). Network membership has dropped to 31% from 37%.

Advisers’ future plans have remained consistent over the last year, with the same number intending to recruit (35%), stay in the market (94%), or to achieve chartered status (QCF Level 6) in the next 12 months (16% compared to 18%, 13 Sept).

Platform usage has continued to grow year on year, with most advisers (86%) now using two or more platforms compared to 70% in 13 Sept. Over half (58%) of them use more than three platforms on a regular basis – showing increasing maturity in the market.

Advisers are largely satisfied with their choice of platform, only 12% considering moving their main platform in the next twelve months (15% in 13 Sept 3). However, for those who are considering a change the reasons are: functionality (64% vs 61% 13 Sept), value for money (60% vs 49% 13 Sept) and cost (48% vs 53% 13 Sept).

The 2014 Budget reforms (58%) and the growth of the At Retirement market (56%) remain the key opportunities for advisers. Although figures are down from March 2014 figures, one in five (21%) still see workplace savings as a prospect, due to the continued implementation of auto-enrolment.

Nearly a half (49%) of advisers still named regulatory fees and levies as their number one concern, followed closely by professional indemnity costs (43%) and remaining profitable (41%). Concern over economic uncertainty has dropped over the last 18 months, with only one in five (18%) now worried about this, compared to 31% in March 2013.

Andy Beswick, Aviva’s intermediary director, retirement solutions, says: “Our latest survey shows a continuation of trends identified in previous surveys. As predicted earlier this year, advisers are seeing a significant increase in demand for advice, especially amongst those in the 55-65 age group, and the majority of them are recommending a mix of retirement solutions for their clients. Overall advisers are also reporting an increase in the size of their active client base.

“We have one of the most comprehensive ranges of retirement solutions in the market including drawdown, annuities and equity release, and are therefore in a good position to offer customers a mix of solutions that best meets their needs.

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