Market volatility and retirement top client concerns

13 January 2021
  • Advisers now more likely to receive queries on market volatility and retirement
  • Advisers less confident about the UK’s economic recovery than six months ago, but they remain positive about the sector’s future 

Clients are increasingly turning to their financial advisers for information on market volatility and retirement planning as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to new research from Standard Life.

Two-thirds (66%) of respondents to Standard Life’s bi-annual survey of 250 UK financial advisers said they are now more likely to receive enquiries from clients on market volatility and its impact on investments than they were before the pandemic.

Four in ten (41%) are more likely to receive enquiries around retirement planning and a fifth (23%) are more likely to receive estate planning requests.

A further fifth (23%) report a higher likelihood of enquiries around protection planning, while just 13% of advisers say they are more likely to receive queries around equity release.

Caroline Miller, UK Distribution Director at Standard Life said: “2020 has brought significant disruption and uncertainty to financial markets. Amid these conditions advisers have been a source of clarity, reassurance and guidance for their clients.

“It is clear that the events from the last nine months have prompted many individuals to rethink their plans for the future, including retirement. With the impact of the pandemic still very much with us, advisers will continue to play a key role in helping their clients navigate complex decisions and to identify the best paths forward for their specific circumstances.”

Meanwhile, advisers have become less optimistic about the UK’s ongoing economic recovery than they were in April.  

Of those surveyed by Standard Life, 57% said they were optimistic about the UK’s economic recovery over the next 12 months, ten points fewer than in Q2 2020.  

However, advisers maintain a positive outlook when it comes to their own prospects.

Nine in ten (93%) are optimistic about their own job (95% in Q2), while a further nine in ten (93%) are optimistic about the prospects of their firm (96% in Q2).

Advisers also remain confident about the health of future client rosters, with 84% optimistic about taking on new clients in the next 12 months, compared to 85% in Q2.

Caroline added: “Even amid challenging economic conditions, it is hugely encouraging to see advisers report such strong confidence in their own prospects.

“The continued provision of solutions, including platform technology, that maximise value and suitability will play a big part in enabling them to continue to deliver excellent client service and grow their businesses.”

Data for Standard Life’s Quest report was collected between 5th October and 18th October 2020.  250 UK advisers who work with Standard Life took part in the survey.   


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Notes to editors

About Standard Life

  • At Standard Life, we’ve been helping customers with their life savings for nearly 200 years.
  • Today the Standard Life brand is trusted by over 4.5m customers, helping them to manage their life savings so that they and their families can enjoy a better future.
  • Customers come to us through advisers, through their employers and direct to Standard Life.
  • We know that customers need more support than ever to make important financial decisions, so we use our expertise to help them get good advice and make better financial choices for their future. And our close relationship with Aberdeen Standard Investments allows us access to world-class investment solutions.
  • In the UK, our Award Winning Wrap and Elevate Platforms are used by financial advisers to provide financial planning and wealth management services to their clients.
  • Through Standard Life Assurance Limited, we offer a range of high quality products for workplace pensions, personal pensions, savings, investments and retirement. These are sold in the UK, Ireland, Germany and Austria. Standard Life Assurance Limited is owned by Phoenix Group and uses the Standard Life brand under licence from the Standard Life Aberdeen Group.
  • Ultimately we want to help customers make good choices with their life savings, whether they are saving throughout their working lives, enjoying financial security in retirement or planning to pass wealth on to loved ones.
  • We believe that experience matters, customers need us and together we will succeed. Collectively we believe this means that there’s a lot to look forward to.
  • The value of investments can go down as well as up, and may be worth less than originally invested.