New pension rules pose fantastic business opportunity for us
Wendy Cochran, principal of Dalbeath Financial Planning, believes the new pension rules have helped push retirement planning to the fore and present a fantastic business opportunity for advisers
ABR: What opportunities do the new pension rules present for you as a business?
Wendy Cochran: The new pension rules pose a fantastic opportunity for us. One of our greatest frustrations is that people reach retirement and just take their pension. I am a firm believer in shopping around and exploring your options. The rule changes have been extremely helpful in getting prospective clients to think about their pensions – it’s become a much bigger talking point and with it, there is a growing need for sound financial advice.
I think the new rules will prompt many people to retire earlier than they may have previously done to take advantage of the tax relief available and as such, there will be far greater opportunities for advisers.
ABR: As such, do you expect to see a rise in new clients?
WC: There has been a definite increase in the number of consumers calling us and what’s been interesting is that they have a greater understanding and knowledge of the retirement market. Previously, potential new clients would ask very general questions but they now enquire about drawdown and more specific options available to them. It’s great that the changes have prompted more people to think about their retirement and reach out to us.
We use our blog and Facebook as a means to highlight the changes and attract new clients, but we are very fortunate in that we receive a lot of referrals from existing clients and we have lawyers and accountants who also refer clients to us. Personally, I have also found Unbiased.co.uk to be useful in widening our reach and attracting new business.
ABR: Could increased interest see you take on clients of a lower wealth value?
WC: Financial advice should not be available only for the very wealthy. We accept clients of varying wealth, we do not operate a cut-off point. We have very affluent clients as well as less affluent and we are happy to provide our services right across the spectrum. If we were to adopt a minimum wealth level, we would miss out on a huge chunk of the market. It’s important that all consumers who require financial advice are able to access it.
ABR: Do you think the rules will lead to a rise in transactional business?
WC: We do expect there to be a number of people who want short-term advice or a one-off piece of work, but that is not our style of business. We tend to look for long-term clients and would be very reluctant to carry out work on a transactional basis. If a client goes into drawdown, we need to ensure that they have the right investments and we would expect to take a long-term approach to this.
I always explain the benefits of coming on as a long-term client and the importance of receiving ongoing advice. The motivation is not financial for us; it is so we can be sure that we offer them the best possible advice and outcome for their money.