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Key concerns for adviser firms in 2018?

28 December 2017

Research by Canada Life has flagged three key areas for adviser firms now and looking forward to 2018 – regulation, Brexit and the continuing impact of pensions freedoms.

More than two thirds of professional advisers (67%) say increasing regulation and changes in the regulatory environment are key areas of concern, according to research carried out among 328 professional advisers by Canada Life.

The third annual survey by Canada Life revealed that when asked about Packaged Retail and Insurance-based Investment Products (PRIIPs) legislation and Key Information Documents, 44% of advisers said they are aware of them but do not yet fully understand them, and nearly a third (29%) claim to have not heard of them before.

In terms potential challenges to the future of their businesses, advisers say robo-advice is not a key concern. Just 4% classed robo-advice as a threat to their firm, while 62% said they expect the impact on their business from robo-advcie will be negligible.

Brexit also features as negotiations continue, with 38% saying their clients have been left confused by the UK’s imminent departure from the EU, leading 36% to look more at overseas opportunities to invest.

Looking to what will keep them busy in the next 6-12 months, advisers said the impact of pensions freedoms will continue to be felt, with many predicting the key need for financial planning for clients will focus on retirement. This includes planning both for those who have already retired and those below retirement age planning for retirement.

Commenting on the results, Richard Priestley, executive director at Canada Life, said it was “no surprise regulation is keeping [advisers] awake at night.

“The challenge remains for advisers to navigate this complex ever changing landscape when providing advice. We feel it is therefore crucial providers are on hand to support advisers with the technical guidance they need to ease them through this process and offer clarity and reassurance to their clients.

“As the research shows pension reforms continue to impact financial planning needs, and the demand for clear, straightforward pension advice remains apparent. With the qualifying age for the state pension on an upward curve, and pension freedom giving retirees more choice than ever before, many people will be uncertain what their options are. Talking with a financial adviser is a key first stop for those interested in securing their future.”

* The Canada Life research was carried out in October 2017.