This is according to new research carried out by Scottish Provident, which surveyed the views of almost 750 IFAs across the UK on their outlook for the protection industry. The survey revealed that IFAs were optimistic that product development would be on the increase in the next decade, with only 7% believing there would be less product development than in the previous ten years. IFAs were also positive about their economic future, with 63% optimistic about business growth in the decade ahead.
Roger Edwards, proposition director, Scottish Provident, said: “Technological advances within the protection industry will only further aid IFAs to ensure they are at the forefront of new information and product developments, enabling them to offer their clients the ‘gold standard’ level of advice. By embracing these advances and keeping their minds open to new technology and product developments, IFAs can use them to their advantage to remain at the cutting edge of financial advice.”
However, despite this demand for future product development, the research revealed that the protection gap is still unfortunately just as wide, with 99% of IFAs stating it still exists. Almost a quarter (23%) of IFAs believe intermediaries could be doing a lot more to help close the protection gap, while nearly one third (29%) believe they are doing everything they can already. A further two fifths (42%) of IFAs believe that only some, and not all of intermediaries are working to close this gap.
The figures also show that over half (56%) of IFAs expect that increased availability of financial information via the internet or directly from companies, will push down the numbers of consumers turning to them for advice over the next ten years. Nearly half (42%) believe that increased availability of information, through the internet and direct from companies, will slightly reduce the need for their services, while a further 14% expect there will be considerably less demand for IFAs by 2020.