Q – Tell me what is your vision for Retirement IQ?

My objective is to nail the question “is it annuity or drawdown or a combination” and my vision is that www.retirement-iq.co.uk will become the go-to place for professional advisers and individual clients who want totally independent, unbiased and honest information on all aspects of annuities and drawdown.

I have been discussing the ‘annuity or drawdown’ question with clients for over 25 years and I think it is one of the most difficult and complicated questions in personal finance. There are a number reasons why this question (and the answers) will become more important in the years ahead including; rising annuity rates (hopefully), uncertainty in global markets following Brexit and the recognition that most people, no matter how wealthy, want a combination of certainty and flexibility without taking undue risks.

Q - What is new about your website www.retirement-iq.co.uk?

Retirement-iq.co.uk takes over from williamburrows.com and the new site has all the popular features: annuity best buy tables, quick quotes and annuity charts. These are free to use as part of the new Retirement Toolbox which now includes a pension drawdown calculator.

Although most people are probably blogged out, I will continue adding my latest articles and press cuttings to the library which also contains my free guides.

I have designed an online marketplace (see below) where advisers and clients can compare and contrast all the relevant annuity and drawdown products.

I will shortly be hosting an online discussion forum with the idea of creating a community of like-minded advisers who share the passion to give clients the best possible advice.

Q – Very good, but what will you actually be doing?

I will be doing three things:

  • Giving specialist advice on annuities and drawdown to existing and new individual clients and helping to plug the advice gap
  • Helping advisers brush up on their ‘skills of the trade’ so they can get the best outcomes for their clients
  • Helping product providers show advisers how their solutions can fit into the advice process

Q – How do you intend plugging the advice gap?

I recognise a group of people who are serious about making the right decisions but don’t know where to turn to because they think the advice process is too complex and expensive. For many people there is a disconnect between the type of advice they want and the advice propositions on offer.

The advice process is understandably heavily regulated but in the process it has lost touch with how many people want to discuss and make decisions about their money. In my experience, there are two things happening when people start thinking about their pension options. First there are a number of behavioural factors at work and secondly, there some technical issues that need dealing with. The present system is good at dealing with the technical issues but poor at dealing with the behavioural factors.

The point is that some of behavioural factors have a direct bearing on the advice recommendation and if they are not taken into account the advice may be technically correct but may not produce the best outcome.

In short, I think I can help plug the advice gap by developing an advice proposition that does not compromise on the important technical aspects, but is more customer friendly and more cost efficient.

I have teamed up with Better Retirement where I am authorised to give financial advice. - see the press release

Q – What’s this about the ‘skills of the trade’?

I am fond of saying that "I can’t tell advisers how to run their businesses or how to give advice" because many advisers are better qualified and experienced than me. But I can share my 'words of wisdom' and experience in the specialist field of annuities and drawdown.

I developed the concept of the ‘tools of the trade’ during my work presenting some IFA workshops and writing specialist guides. I identified 6 skills that advisers need to have if they are serious about going the extra mile to give their clients the very best advice.

These are very practical skills which advisers may find useful.

A – Tell me more about the ‘marketplace’ on your website www.retirement-iq.co.uk

I have created an online marketplace where advisers and clients can compare and contrast all the relevant annuity and drawdown products as well as some of the funds specially suitable for drawdown.

You can look but not buy, and the aim is to help people understand the advantages and disadvantages of different product categories and get specific information on products.

This is an ambitious project and I have done this without any provider support or influence so it is truly independent. Although some providers, especially Canada Life, Retirement Advantage, Prudential, Assured Retirement, Primetime, Aegon and MetLife have been very helpful, it has been like getting blood out of a stone to get some providers to engage with this and consequently not all products are listed at the moment but very soon I will have a full list of all annuity and drawdown products.

I hope that this will become a valuable educational and research tool for both advisers and clients