Ask any adviser who operates in the corporate space and they will tell you that we are firmly immersed in auto-enrolment land.
Describing the situation as bordering on chaos is not an exaggeration at all. Capacity issues, middleware confusion and problems with payroll are contributing but the refreshing feedback from all parties is that, contrary to some commentators’ doomsday fears, there is a massive role for the adviser.
What does this have to do with protection, I hear you asking? Auto-enrolment is opening doors in a unique way and it is estimated that there are 65 companies for each adviser in the UK which means many of us will undoubtedly be asked by our clients who in particular hold HR or financial positions for help.
Whether volunteered by the client or suggested by the adviser, the question of complimentary benefits alongside auto-enrolment is a no-brainer. It will often depend on the demographic, so younger companies will probably wish to discuss PMI before income protection or death in service. As reported a few days ago, the estimate of recruiting someone is about £30,000 so HR departments are using the buzzwords of recruit and retain. An adviser can play a crucial part here particularly as, with the dem-ise of company cars, employee benefits take on a crucial role.
There are many EBCs who do a sterling job in some of this space but the numbers of smaller companies means they can only reach so far and so a huge opportunity exists.
As our PFS training has ably demonstrated, there is a massive training need for many advisers and we would implore the group providers in particular to recognise this.
Death in service and IP (and where appropriate critical- illness cover) are perceived by many as complex, whereas I would argue they are very similar to their individual cousins and if this training can be provided, advisers can learn the differences in a relatively short time. In the case of IP, in particular, there is arguably an easier product to talk about as this is written on an own occupation basis as opposed to the inferior any occupation cover that many of us want eradicated from the industry.
The other obvious subject which decision makers will want to discuss is business protection and, for smaller companies, succession planning.
Over 20 million people will soon have a pension. Let’s hope that on the back of this increase in saving they can get adequate cover themselves. The role of the adviser both on a group and personal level will be pivotal and integral in making this happen.
Roy McLoughlin is partner at Master Adviser