Interview with Martin Coyle

In the run up to Money Marketing Interactive on 3rd May, Martin Coyle, Director of New Business at Aegon UK answers some quick-fire questions on innovation, advice market heroes, and how optimistic he is about the advice market in 2018.

Aegon UK are Gold sponsors at MMI this year and you can see Martin speak on the plenary stage at 9:50am about how advisers can consolidate customers’ assets to drive value.

To register your interest for Money Marketing Interactive, click here

Martin Coyle 1

1. On a scale of 1 to 10, how optimistic are you about the advice market for 2018?
I think the advice market is in an excellent place. Based on the conversations I have with advisers, I see a lot of optimism about the future of their businesses and this is backed up by our research. Towards the end of last year we undertook a survey of 250 advisers and 76% said they expected to add clients over the next 12 months, while 81% expected turnover to increase. I would have to say a solid 8.

2. What is the best innovation you've seen recently?
The investment in creating new avenues for digital engagement for customers is a big step forward for the industry.  Advisers’ willingness to segment their clients and recognise the value of digital engagement has increased substantially over the last couple of years.  Digital engagement combined with some early form of guidance is proving very popular in the market - meeting the needs of some client and incubating financial planning clients of the future.

3. What can be done to improve the supply of advice?
The pension freedoms, interest in DB transfers, increases to ISA limits are just a few of the things driving people to seek out advice. The problem is that in many cases demand outstrips supply. The FCA’s Financial Advice Market Review set out to make advice more accessible but in the view of advisers hasn’t delivered. Our research has found that while advisers agree with the goals and support the remedies proposed by the Review, the majority don’t believe it’s having a tangible effect. For example, 70% of advisers surveyed agree with the new definition of regulated advice, linked to providing a personal recommendation, but two thirds (69%) don’t think it is helping close the advice gap. 

4. Have advisers reached a point of true professionalism yet?
I believe so. Advisers have to pass testing qualifications and dedicate significant amount of time to obtaining permissions for certain categories of advice. I’d argue that the value of spending time with a financial adviser was at least as high, if not higher, than equivalent advice from a lawyer for example.

5. How long will the DB transfer market boom continue?
I expect there will continue to be a great deal of interest in DB transfers for the foreseeable future. The pension freedoms have changed the way people think about retirement income and for those people who have a good degree of income certainty in retirement, the ability to have access to their DB savings and pass them on to loved ones for example will remain attractive. Of course transfer values are particularly high at present, but it would take a significant change for people to stop considering this as an option.

6. What major trends are you predicting for the next 12 months?
Beyond DB to DC transfers I think a lot advisers will be watching what happens with the pensions dashboards. A quarter (26%) of advisers highlighted it as a big opportunity in the next two years as improved access to information about historic savings plans may prompt the demand for broader pension planning and advice. Social care funding was also marked out as a key opportunity for growth by one in five (21%) advisers. 

7. What session are you looking forward to most at MMI?  
‘Drawdown – How not to run out of money’.  With the advent of pension freedoms (earlier access to funds), people living longer and increasing later care costs this is a critical financial planning question that needs to be addressed both clients and advisers.

8. How do you think advisers could best improve their image with the public?
Word of mouth is a powerful tool. In this industry advisers who help their clients to better outcomes and support them through major life events will always do well. 

9. Who is your advice market hero?
I must say there are two people that immediately spring to mind, Martin Bamford and Jason Butler for their commitment to financial education and financial well-being in general.

10. What's your favourite tech tool?
Revolut – a personal digital banking alternative.  I can’t live it without it and it’s absolutely fantastic for frequent travellers.