Closing the advice gap: providing financial advice to people on low incomes
As people are being expected to take more personal responsibility for their financial affairs, it is essential that they have the meansto make informed decisions. Pension reform, for example, which is likely to leave people with new choices to make in planning for their retirement, will only succeed if people are able to understand those choices and make the right decisions. This is particularly true for people on low to moderate incomes who currently have little access to impartial financial advice. Their advice needs are not catered for by the financial services industry which packages up advice with product sales or offers it at commercial rates via independent financial advisers (IFAs). And, as they are not reliant on benefits, they are unlikely to be served by services aimed at the poorest and most vulnerable.
We wanted to develop a clearer understanding of the demographic and financial characteristics of our ‘target’ group of people on low to moderate incomes. We therefore commissioned rigorous research using the most authoritative data sources available including the British Household Panel Survey and the FSA’s ‘baseline’ survey of financial capability, as well as a number of qualitative interviews with representatives from the group.