Advisers reluctant to expose working retirees to investment risk

Almost half (44 per cent) of advisers admitted they advise clients who stagger their retirement to make no changes to the risk profile of their investments.

The research, conducted by LV=, also revealed that a further one in four (23 per cent) advisers advised their staggered retirement clients to stay away (or move away) from assets with a greater potential exposure to volatility.

However, a number of advisers reported that they have clients who had staggered their retirements and were now looking to make a shift and increase the risk profile of their investments at the stages in their retirement journey where volatility could have the biggest impact.

Nearly one in five (19 per cent) claimed their clients have decided to continue to work because they feel they made overly cautious investment decisions earlier on in their working lives. According to LV=, this could explain why more then one-in-three (36 per cent) said their staggered retirement clients have their remaining funds invested in assets with a greater element of risk than those who have given up work altogether.

Despite this, the majority of advisers (54 per cent) stated that clients who have staggered their retirement and continued to work while drawing on their pension are no more likely to have chosen to invest in assets with a greater potential exposure to volatility than those who have given up work completely.

Commenting on the findings, LV= managing director of savings and retirement Clive Bolton said: “For anyone approaching retirement or anyone recently retired, with pension assets that remain invested, the prospect of market volatility is likely to be a worrying one.

“In particular, the group often known as the mass affluent – those with between £100,000 and £500,000 in retirement savings, have potentially the most to lose by being overly exposed to volatile assets. For this group their retirement is likely to last for anything up to 30 years and will see them spending all of their savings and assets on securing an income and later life care, so any unexpected fall in the value of their pension fund is likely to hit hard.”

When asked about the investment profile of their clients who had staggered their retirements and accessed part of their pension pot, over half (58 per cent) of advisers said that the remainder of their clients’ pots are invested in a relatively equal mix of equities, bonds, alternatives and cash.

In further confirmation that the majority of those who stagger their retirement have listened to their advisers in taking a risk-averse approach to investing the remainder of their pension savings, many have chosen to avoid investing in equities. More than a quarter of them (28 per cent) are afraid of capital loss, while nearly one in five (18 per cent) consider equities to be too volatile.

Bolton continued: “There are obvious benefits for those who choose to continue to work in retirement, whether they are social or simply the financial boost an income brings both in the longer and shorter term.

“With so many retirees now taking up the option of leaving their pension fund invested, the role of good financial advice has never been more important, particularly as clients look to navigate uncertain and volatile times.”

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