Standard Life plans to develop a direct-to-consumer offering for less wealthy consumers to capitalise on increasing customer numbers due to auto-enrolment.
Speaking at a media briefing in London last week, Standard Life managing director of adviser and investments Richard Charnock said the death of the bancassurance model meant providers “have now got their eye on the UK advice gap”.
He said: “We are under pressure from the Government and the regulator to fill that advice gap, so we will be building something in due course that takes us into that space.”
Asked by Money Marketing how such a model would work, Charnock stressed Standard Life would continue to work on an intermediated basis.
He said: “This is about capturing the opportunities through auto-enrolment as much as anything else. We are not entirely sure how many auto-enrolees will come through Standard Life over the next three years but it could be as many as 400,000 people in schemes who are becoming customers of Standard Life.
“Through a process we will work out who is advised and who is not, and for those that are not, if there is something that engages them through a self-serve proposition at the lowest level, perhaps selecting an Isa through us, that creates a pool or a franchise if you like that can then be referred over to our IFAs. Suddenly, IFAs that partner with Standard Life can see the benefit of future referral business coming their way.”
Jacksons Wealth Management managing director Pete Matthew says: “Clients need a way to access financial products and increasingly it is going to be direct and online. But this idea of Standard Life handing over clients to advisers – I will believe it when I see it.”