Advice Review – Delivering good retirement outcomes in a challenging climate

Financial Advisory

23 November 2023

Advisory DistributorsFinancial AdvisoryHybridInterestPensionRetirementTechnology

Expert: Lesley Whyte, Head of Strategic Partnerships, Standard Life Facilitator: Helen Clark, Owner and Director, Mint Blue Consulting Ltd


  1. Women are more cautious on their spending generally.
  2. Bank accounts are now of greater interest with increased interest rates for the first time in years.
  3. People are thinking about retirement as early as 36 and Standard Life will be analysing the reasons why further.
  4. Advisers are still not as keen to deal with people with those who have not accrued their wealth so different solutions are required.
  5. There are a number of concerns around single pension pots, in particular the operational handling and the impact on payroll teams handling the payments each month.
  6. Equity release is also a consideration as part of the retirement options.

The discussion covered research findings on consumer needs and wants for retirement planning, including the need for financial certainty, managing uncertainty, and the value of financial advice.
Key points were the demand for guaranteed income (90% want this), need for flexibility (90% want this also), and the power of financial advice, with regular advice leading to 50% better outcomes (Standard Life survey of 6,500 customers).

The group discussed challenges around engaging consumers earlier, especially those age 30-40 who are not saving enough, and the need for more financial education. Education is also required for younger advisers who have not experienced high interest markets or in some cases, never sold an annuity product due to consistently low interest rates.

The role of technology in providing dashboards, portals and apps was debated as well as the concept of a single pension pot. The importance of human advice and contact was emphasised, given research showing advised consumers end up better off. Ideas were shared around innovative products, utilising the workplace more, and scaling digital education efforts.
Key takeaways:

  • Develop more hybrid retirement income products that blend certainty and flexibility
  • Create engaging educational content tailored to different age groups and share through digital channels
  • Better utilise the workplace to access and educate consumers earlier in their careers
  • Drive technology innovation to provide simplified and central dashboards, apps and portals that engage consumers and advisers for a generation that are used to dealing with technology on a daily basis and view in short snippets
  • Encourage more human interaction and advice at key life stages to improve financial and retirement outcomes
  • Review the Pensions Thematic Review once available (due Q4)