The Life Insurance Market Research Association is conducting research into consumer buying habits to help life offices find new distribution channels.
Limra, which has 850 member life companies in 70 countries, is carrying out the research in response to the “diminishing” IFA market, says research manager Chris Heath.
Heath says: “The number of IFAs is declining and this will be exacerbated by the RDR. Every company that is dependent on business from IFAs is having to look at alternative distribution channels in the future, including online, salesforces, guided sales and workplace marketing.
Research will be conducted in November and staged in two processes, through focus groups and an online survey.
Limra will look at what the consumer wants, including the role of the internet, what channels they are willing to use to buy financial products, the barriers to purchase and what advice they need. It will also ask whether there a role for social networking sites.
The findings will be presented in December.
Heath says: “It will deliver insight into the alternative channels that consumers are using now and what they might consider in the future.”
Unleash Advice Partnership IFA Adrian Kidd says the IFA market will contract slightly but many IFAs will be resilient to the changes. “Some firms will thrive and some fall will by the wayside. But consolidation is the way it is going.”