View more on these topics

Phil Wickenden: Retirement planning: the tools of the trade


Creativity almost always requires a tool to translate our ideas into things. A sculptor uses a chisel and hammer to give their ideas shape in stone. Even something as esoteric as a joik – a tradition of composing ad hoc songs about your surroundings among the Sami people in Northern Scandinavia – employs the vocal chords to vibrate the air into sound.

Website content and quality online tools have become more important as the availability of and need for face-to-face consultants diminishes. By tools I do not mean devices to facilitate quick snacks of digital consumption – there is always another information snippet or rapid fire conversation just a notification away, ready to interrupt your flow. No, I mean tools that enable the creation of better, more joined up financial plans that connect with peoples’ actual lives.

That is not to say that more proactive and bespoke field support does not add tremendous value when delivered well. It does. Also when bespoke, flexible and divorced from product, per se, it can go a long way. Advisers always have, and always will, value providers that consistently demonstrate the commitment so often talked about but seldom acted on. While that will likely never change, advisers recognise the “broker consultant” is now an exception rather than a rule. As such, most today depend less on external, provider-led support, having re-engineered their businesses to be considerably more self-sufficient.

Advisers have largely come to terms with new world realities – provided they have access to:

  • A robust, reliable and navigable website, providing the necessary tools and information to allow them and their support staff to do the job themselves.
  • Well-trained telephone-based consultants who are able to answer a smaller number of detailed questions on complex cases.

Looking specifically at retirement planning, the tools that have been most relied on in the past 12 months are highlighted in the table below. 


Post-Budget though, retirement planning has become more complex. Correspondingly there is the potential for smarter integration between lifetime income and expenditure tools, tax calculators and income target tools.  Advisers are far more aware of the spectrum of risks impacting on retirement income provision strategies. As such the importance of these risks has increased but, to date, the availability of quality tools to help navigate the uncertainties has not.

Make no mistake, this scenario represents a huge opportunity.

Phil Wickenden is founder of So Here’s the Plan. 



Businesses attack PM over failure to curb EU powers

Company bosses have hit out at Prime Minister David Cameron over the Government’s failure to protect the UK financial services sector from increasing red tape from the European Union. In a letter to The Sunday Times, a group of 54 businessmen including Tory donors and former ministers say they are “extremely concerned” about measures coming […]


Neil Liversidge: The way to redefine independence

Over the years I have written to successive bosses of the regulator to ask just how many of its employees have ever started a business from scratch and have subsequently run it successfully at a profit for at least five years.  As I have never had a reply from any of them, I suspect the answer […]


Labour slams FCA over social media guidance

Labour says the FCA is at risk of falling behind advances in social media because it has taken four years to update its financial promotions rules for websites such as Twitter or Facebook. The regulator’s Conduct of Business Sourcebook sets out rules for how media of all types can be used for financial promotions; these […]


The secret to retaining low-value business

Rather than servicing low-value clients at a loss or turning them away altogether, IFA firm Plan Money provides a non-advised online service through personal finance comparison website “Like most IFAs, around 95 per cent of our business comes from referrals and recommendations,” says Plan Money director Peter Chadborn. “But how do you say no to […]

Artemis Monthly Distribution Fund: positioning and outlook

Managers James Foster and Jacob de Tusch-Lec outline the fund’s investment approach and discuss current investment themes and outlook for the bond and equity markets. As James and Jacob confirm, the Artemis Monthly Distribution Fund’s aim is to generate an income from both equities and bonds. They explain their investment approach in each asset class, the sectors where they are […]


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up


    Leave a comment