Press Release

Wealth Management Industry Gathers to Discuss Pension Freedoms 6 Months on

19th January 2016

In April 2015 Chancellor George Osbourne announced some of the most radical changes to the pensions landscape in a generation. The new rules provide people with the ability to access their pension funds once they reach 55 and have full flexibility over how they use the proceeds.

To highlight and discuss the main issues surrounding these new freedoms, the Wealth Management Association (WMA), in conjunction with Sanlam Private Wealth, gathered together several key figures from the wealth management industry to discuss the changes and give their experienced perspective.

Dr Paul Cox, who has extensively researched these issues, from the University of Birmingham chaired this roundtable discussion which resulted in various insights captured in this whitepaper. The resulting whitepaper also discussed three emerging themes; overall investment strategies, suitability and looking ahead.

Overall investment strategies
The impact on investment strategies and whether most individuals are able to appropriately consider their investment strategies under these new reforms will form part of a longer term challenge for the wealth management industry. Many more individuals are going to be interested in seeking-out guidance for a prolonged period of time, say from age 55 rather than 65, and for 30 plus years, followed possibly by estate planning. This longer retirement time horizon aligns much more closely with the longer-term concept of through life guidance than point-in-time guidance. Through life guidance encompasses a holistic, in the round, approach to interaction with clients. There’s a broader picture of how all the elements work together, so the adviser can determine how an individual’s current and future resources can deliver what matters most in their lives.

Suitability is an area of significant supervisory focus by the FCA and it was also a key part of the discussion at the round table. When discussing suitability it was agreed that there needs to be clarity between the regulatory firm and the client of who is responsible for what and that this is fundamental.  If the pension managers are running the money those running the pension advice need to be very clear in terms of what’s happening with the portfolio. The interaction between the pension provider, external financial planner or adviser, and the client is going to be even more important than it has in the past under these freedoms as historically this is where there have been issues. The challenges highlighted were educating the supervisors and the FCA to understand the pension environment, particularly the area of de-risking as traditionally their mind set has been that once an investor is in retirement they should be invested in safer assets.

A look ahead
Investors and the industry in general need to start looking 30 years ahead. The industry needs to educate investors about their life expectancy, the possibility that this is longer than they believe, the health and well-being implications, and making this part of a more holistic advice process.

The changes to the pension industry are raising many questions and it may be too early to give a clear indication of what the impact of these freedoms may be.  However, we can draw some key conclusions even at this early stage.

  • Suitability is still an area that warrants discussion and investigation as to how it will look. This is an 18-month to two-year challenge for the industry in general.
  • Investment managers, financial planners and investment advisers will need to adapt the way they work together in this changing environment.
  • Cost is paramount. When we talk about advice gaps, we must consider the cost of regulation. The government also needs to be aware of the cost of delivering the solution once it is in place.
  • Education on pensions from an early age is necessary in order to encourage a savings culture. We must provide an affordable environment in which people can receive advice on an ongoing basis.
  • People need to be more engaged with their investments and the decisions they will need to make. It is not just an education and information problem, but also an engagement problem.

Liz Field, WMA Chief Executive said:

“Much of this area is still in its infancy and is incredibly important to consider both in context of how it will impact on people’s lives and what the wealth management community can do to help.

This white paper is the first in a series that will be written by the WMA to keep a watching brief on developments and provide an important forum for key figures to come together and discuss the issues”.

Jonathan Polin, Chief Executive of Sanlam in the UK said:

“There are a myriad of questions for wealth managers in the light of the new pensions freedoms and this paradigm shift in the industry. Over the past year we have launched a service to help advisers provide output-driven retirement solutions for their clients and we continue to look for ways to meet the challenges of the new pensions environment.

The white paper highlights a number of important issues and we believe it is vital that industry leaders grasp the nettle and discuss these, working together to ensure the best and most professional service to our clients.


Notes for Editors

About the Wealth Management Association (WMA)

  • The Wealth Management Association (WMA) is a trade association that represents 186 wealth management firms (full members) and associate members who provide professional services to our full member firms.
  • WMA members firms look after over £670 billion of wealth for over 4 million retail investors.
  •  WMA full members deal in stocks, shares and other financial instruments for individuals, trusts and charities through a range of services spanning execution only, advisory and discretionary fund management.
  • The WMA exists to support its members and their clients in the following ways:
    • To be an advocate for the sector with governments, regulators and the wider financial services community;
    • To influence policy and also decision makers within the wider sector to the benefit of WMA members and their clients;
    • To research and provide definitive information about the sector as required for members and in support of the influencing and advocacy objectives;
    • To be a thought leader, to lead and stimulate debate and make members aware of emerging trends; challenging and provoking change.
    • Facilitating the sharing of good practice, enabling the membership as a whole to benefit from the latest developments affecting the sector as well as providing support to enable them to develop good prescribe and overcome challenges.
  • WMA firms operate across more than 580 sites, employing over 32 000 staff.
  • These firms also run over 5.5 million client portfolios and carry out over 20 million trades a year.


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About Sanlam Private Wealth


If you would like to receive a copy of Dr Paul Cox’s white paper, Helping Consumers and Providers Manage Defined Contribution Wealth in Retirement, please contact Christopher Dean on the details below.

Sanlam Private Wealth (UK) is a leading investment and wealth management firm, formed from private client businesses with a history reaching back over 25 years in the UK. Sanlam Private Wealth employs around 180 investment professionals in the UK and also has activities in Australia, South Africa and Switzerland.

Sanlam Private Wealth offers active investment management through bespoke portfolio solutions and tax efficient investments for high net worth individuals, families, trusts, charities and businesses. It also offers stockbroking investment services for those who prefer to be involved in managing their own portfolio. In the UK, it has assets under management of £2.2 billion as of December 2014.

It is headquartered in London with regional offices in Sevenoaks, Bath, Marlow, Harrogate, Teesside, Kirkby Lonsdale and Newcastle upon Tyne. In addition to supporting clients directly, it has a well-established team which works with professional advisers.


In the media is particularly well known in the media for its bi-annual Income Study and White List, which has been identifying the top performing UK Equity Income Funds for over 20 years.

Sanlam Private Wealth is part of the Sanlam Group, a listed South African firm with operations in the UK, US, Africa, India and South East Asia. Sanlam attained its size, strength and reputation by blending the benefits of having a large secure parent company, whilst focussing on individual relationships by employing highly qualified professionals in local offices, who have the freedom to cater for the specific needs of local residents and business communities. The Sanlam Group has a market capitalisation R167.3 billion ($14 billion) of and total asset base of R875 billion (US $72.1 billion).


For further information, please contact:

Christopher Dean, Head of Marketing
Sanlam Private Wealth
020 7280 8722

Bernadette Motion, Energy PR
07932 620284/+44 (0) 1993 823011