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3 in 4 people approaching retirement have not taken professional pension advice


77% of people approaching retirement have never sought professional financial advice in relation to their pension. However, at the same time, only 17%* say they understand pension income drawdown, which is set to become a more mainstream source of retirement income when the new pension freedoms come into effect in April.

This data suggests there is a significant danger that if people do not understand the new pension freedoms and do not take advice, they will withdraw their money too quickly and be left, in the longer term, relying on state benefits.

A new survey of 943 people aged 45–65 conducted by YouGov on behalf of Old Mutual Wealth shows that 35% of people have never sought any kind of help or advice about their pension savings. 17% have spoken to their product provider or have done their own research online, 16% rely on help from friends and family. Including those in the age group already retired, only 21% have taken advice from a professional financial adviser. The full breakdown of the data is provided below.

Encouragingly, 40% of 45-65 year olds have already heard of the Government’s new ‘Pension Wise’ guidance service even though it is yet to launch in full. Pension Wise seeks to help those approaching retirement to understand the new rules around accessing pension savings that come into force on April 6. The service will play an important role in signposting retirees to regulated financial advice where appropriate.

Financial advice and planning can have a real impact on the level of income people have in retirement. Retirees today that saw a financial adviser at least once before retirement and had a target income have an actual income that is 49% higher than those that did neither*.

Paul Feeney, chief executive of Old Mutual Wealth, comments:

“The new pension freedoms are great news because they give people control over how they can access their retirement savings but they could be a disaster without financial advice. We all know that with greater freedom comes greater responsibility and the Government has placed the responsibility for a secure and prosperous retirement firmly on to the individual. People are reticent about seeking advice, they shouldn’t be. An hour’s meeting with a financial adviser can make all the difference and in the new pensions world it is even more important.

“I think there will be a flood of demand for professional financial advice after the reforms come in, as people focus more closely on their pension savings. 40% of people have already heard of the new Pension Wise guidance service but this is only set to grow and I think it will prove to be an effective feeder service for full financial advice.

“All advisers within our Intrinsic network are on the Pension Wise adviser directory and we are expecting to see a significant increase in demand for retirement income advice from people using this service who will realise they need full and personal advice in order to make the most of the new flexibilities.”

Michelle Cracknell, chief executive of The Pensions Advisory Service, adds:

“This research provides evidence of why the guidance is so important. People struggle with the retirement option choices and do not necessarily know how or where to access help. Guidance is the start of the journey that helps people know the information they need, the questions to ask and where to go. We believe that guidance will help people understand their options, and as a result, some may choose to take advice as they will understand the importance of the decisions that they will be making.

“It is encouraging to see that people have heard of Pension Wise and we hope that this awareness grows when the first wave of retirees experience the guidance.”


Notes to editors:

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 943 adults aged 45-65 years old. Fieldwork was undertaken between 19th - 20th February 2015. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

* Source: Old Mutual Wealth Retirement Income Uncovered report, December 2014

Which, if any, of the following have you EVER sought help/ advice from in relation to decisions about your pension? (Please select all that apply. If you have never sought help with decisions about your pension or don't have a pension, please select the relevant "Not applicable" option.)

Base: All GB adults aged 45 to 65 online


An independent financial adviser


A bank


A pension product provider (i.e. **not** including any bank)


A newspaper


My own research online (e.g. price comparison websites, customer testimony etc.)


Friends and/ or family




Don't know/ can't recall


Not applicable - I have never sought help/ advice with decisions about my pension


Not applicable - I don't have a pension


** This figure rises to 23% of those respondents who are not already retired

In April 2015, the Government is launching a "Pension Wise" guidance service that aims to help retirees take advantage of new pension rules... Before taking this survey, had you heard about this new pension guidance service being provided by the Government?

Base: All GB adults aged 45 to 65


Yes, I had


No, I hadn't


Retirees today that saw a financial adviser at least once before retirement and had a target income have an actual income that is 49% higher than those that did neither:

• £17,500 – annual income for today’s retirees with no target set.

• £20,800 – annual income for today’s retirees that sought financial advice.

• £26,000 – annual income for those that sought financial advice and had a clear target.

For more information contact

Tim Skelton-SmithOld Mutual Wealth02380 916 99807824 145

Notes to Editors:

About Quilter plc:

Quilter plc is a leading wealth management business in the UK and internationally, helping to create prosperity for the generations of today and tomorrow.

Quilter plc oversees £118.7 billion in investments (as at 30 September 2019).

It has an adviser and customer offering spanning: financial advice; investment platforms; multi-asset investment solutions; and discretionary fund management.

The business is comprised of two segments: Advice and Wealth Management and Wealth Platforms.

Advice and Wealth Management encompasses the financial advice business, Quilter Financial Planning; the discretionary fund management business, Quilter Cheviot; and Quilter Investors, the Multi-asset investment solutions business.

Wealth Platforms includes Old Mutual Wealth UK platform; Old Mutual International, including AAM Advisory in Singapore; and the Old Mutual Wealth Heritage life assurance business.

The Quilter plc businesses are being re-branded as follows: 

  • Quilter Financial Planning (previously Intrinsic)
  • Quilter Private Client Advisers (previously Old Mutual Wealth Private Client Advisers)
  • Charles Derby Group (becoming Quilter Financial Advisers)
  • Quilter Financial Adviser School
  • Quilter Cheviot
  • Quilter Investors
  • Old Mutual Wealth (becoming Quilter Wealth Solutions in 2020)
  • Old Mutual International (becoming Quilter International in 2020)

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