The latest savings and investment index from Standard Life suggests few consumers have a continuous relationship with a financial adviser.
In the latest quarterly report from the insurer - which aims to measure consumer sentiment for investment classes and savings vehicles - findings suggest only 24% of consumers have an ongoing relationship with a professional financial adviser.
This is a fall of 4% and is the lowest score to date, so Standard Life says this makes it unsurprising only 28% of the 1,521 respondents are satisfied with the amount they are saving for retirement.
Meanwhile, the index results show interest in specific investment vehicles, such as Isas, have moved very little over the last quarter with a fall of just one point, while the popularity of personal pensions and self-invested personal pensions (sipps) appears to have "tailed off" as it claims there has been no significant increase in this area over the last three months.
However, according to the research, the most popular investment among consumers is property, with buy-to-let jumping 23% in the last three months to make it the second most popular investment after consumers’ own homes.
Despite the increase in popularity among certain asset classes, the research reveals the proportion of people saving in the last quarter has dropped, with 30% admitting they are saving less than they did a year ago, compared to just 25% in the April and January surveys.
Although 39% say they plan to save more in the next year - up 3% from the last report - only 46% of those questioned who save regularly admit to be actively saving for retirement, with 49% preferring to save for holidays, 33% saving for home improvements and 20% putting money aside for Christmas.
In addition, although overall the Index score has increased from 19 to 21, the findings show the popularity of shares has fallen significantly from 11 points to just two, following a previous six point drop in the last report, which it claims shows although people might be prepared to take a risk and invest in property, they are still unsure about the higher level of volatility relating to stocks and shares.
However, the Index reveals both National Savings and Premium Bonds have increased in popularity with a rise of 16% compared to the last report, while cash and basic savings accounts have moved from zero to six points in the last quarter, although it says endowments continue to low in popularity.
Trevor Matthews, chief executive of Standard Life Assurance, says financial advisers need to put the consumer first if they are to regain their trust.
He adds: “The Standard Life Savings and Investment Index clearly shows the UK saver prefers to invest in bricks and mortar. But it is worrying that overall the savings gap appears to be widening, and this issue needs to be addressed by the industry.”
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