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Supporting people in the era of individual responsibility

15/06/2018

Paul Feeney

Chief Executive Officer

Quilter is here to help create prosperity for the generations of today and tomorrow. That purpose guides everything we do, from creating wealth for our customers, to promoting a responsible, customer-focused investment industry, as well as our broader contribution to the communities in which we operate and society more widely.

Understanding the world around us is imperative for us to deliver on our purpose, particularly as we live in fast-moving times shaped by geo-political instability, an uncertain economic outlook and changing customer needs. The UK is in the process of a huge structural transition from an era where employers and the state were responsible for funding an individual’s retirement to an era where the individual must take full responsibility for their own financial future. As with any change of this magnitude there are of course winners and losers.

As a wealth manager we are naturally eager to understand, first-hand, how particular groups are being impacted by this policy transition. We therefore commissioned a nationally representative consumer survey of the group of people who are most likely to be most affected by the change in pension regimes: those retiring in around twenty years’ time.

This generation are at a huge risk of under-saving for retirement because of their positioning between pension regimes and for this reason we call them the ‘In-Betweeners’. The generation before them are mostly well-catered for through a combination of funded pension provision and owning their own home, and the generation after them were introduced to auto-enrolment from a younger age, which should help to ensure that their income in retirement is at least adequate. Furthermore, legacy defined benefit pension promises are, at times, hindering the amount employers can contribute to auto-enrolment schemes.

We found a worrying picture. Despite recognising the importance of saving for the future, this group are delaying financial planning and most blame the lack of disposable income for their low levels of long-term saving. We also found that many In-Betweeners only have small sums saved which are often earmarked for short-term expenditure, such as holidays, or for property related goals. The majority of this group say they will rely, either in full or in part, on the state pension, even though they believe the allowance will become less generous over time.

Our research reveals that many In-Betweeners feel unprepared for their financial future and worry about not being able to support their families, or afford a decent standard of living in retirement. Back in the present it’s clear that financial security plays a key role in life satisfaction for this group; they are most satisfied with their family life and least satisfied with their financial situation.

At Quilter we believe that face-to-face advice leads to the best outcomes for people. There is a desperate need to increase the capacity of advice and also to provide generic guidance so the In-Betweeners receive as much help as possible to manage their money effectively.

Indeed, our research shows the picture is less bleak amongst those who are proactive and prepared. Confidence and satisfaction levels increase substantially for those people who have a financial plan in place; so it seems that financial planning is not only good for your wealth, but also your wellbeing.

We conclude our report with policy solutions that we believe could make a positive difference for the generation between pension regimes. We encourage policy makers and the investment industry to consider how we can address the issues raised by this research and welcome dialogue with all stakeholders on how we can help create prosperity for the generations of both today and tomorrow.

The In-betweeners report is available here.