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Retirement planning is top priority for UK consumers

Retirement planning is the UK consumer’s top priority for seeking financial advice but advisers have yet to see any rush ahead of A-Day, according to IFA Promotion.

IFAP says the number of advice-seekers is largely in line with last year, indicating that A-Day frenzy has not yet hit consumers, but the appetite for independent advice has grown, which is encouraging.

IFAP says in the 12 months to September 2005 it had handled 535,000 requests for local IFAs, a year-on-year increase of 42 per cent.

It has now launched its first Advice Drivers report based on 28,000 IFA requests by consumers in September. Consumers were allowed to select more than one product area and 61 per cent sought product-related advice.

Of these, personal retirement planning was the top driver with 37 per cent followed by investment and savings with 31 per cent, 30 per cent looking for mortgage advice, 12 per cent seeking personal protection advice and 11 per cent looking for advice on Isas, Oeics or unit trusts.

Personal stakeholder pensions were sought by 9 per cent, tax planning also 9 per cent and 4 per cent for each of saving for children, investment trusts and equity release.

IFAP chief executive David Elms says: “Retirement planning has always been a key issue for which people seek expert independent advice. However, while raw numbers of people seeking pension IFAs have increased in line with the overall number of advice-seekers, we would hope that the imminent pension reforms would prompt a grea-ter share to review their arr-angements in advance of April.

“Our next two reports should provide early proof of whether the A-Day message has hit home in time for millions of retirement savers either to benefit from new opportunities or to avoid losing out.”

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