Independent Financial Advisors help people save, says Standard Life

07 September 2007
According to research undertaken for Standard Life’s Savings & Investment Index, people using the services of a financial adviser are, predictably, much more likely to save.

The company’s survey revealed that less than a quarter of people (22 per cent) have regular access to a financial adviser, but that an impressive 77 per cent of these respondents were actively saving for the future. By contrast, of the 76 per cent who were not receiving help from a financial adviser on a regular basis, only 46 per cent were actually accruing savings.

Chief executive, UK Financial Services, Trevor Matthews, said: “These results highlight a stark comparison – evidence indeed of how important it is that people have regular access to professional financial advice”.

And, although there is a clear correlation between the level of income and the likelihood of having an adviser, financial advisers are not only used by the highest earners. Company representative Lesley Davidson points out that 25 per cent of people in the £15,000 to £20,000 income band use an adviser.

However, despite the apparent benefits of seeking financial advice, company figures actually show a downturn in the number of requests compared with July 2005, when the company’s research began, falling to 22 per cent from 28 per cent.

Overall, the Index results show a slight rise in investor confidence. However, the Index has risen by just one point from 19 in April, to 20 in July, although it remains well above its launch level of 11 in July 2005.

Although there appears to be more consumer confidence in basic savings products such as cash and short-term deposits, this is offset by a downturn in property investment.

Perhaps surprisingly, investor confidence with regard to pensions has shown particularly high growth. 77 per cent of respondents believed it was a good time to pay into employer pensions. The survey showed that 74 per cent were in favour of personal pensions and 61 per cent were in favour of SIPPs (Self-Invested Personal Pension).

ISAs continue to be the most popular choice of investment, falling just 2 per cent from 90 per cent to 88 per cent.

Although Mr Matthews recognised that stock market volatility may have influenced survey participants’ responses, he said: “It is heartening to see an increase in the number of people who think it is a good time to invest in pensions, after seeing a dip in the last quarter’s results. Pensions’ tax-efficient status makes them an attractive choice for those saving for retirement.”

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