The switch to digital solutions in the pensions sector will accelerate in 2021 putting pressure on firms relying on outdated legacy systems, SIPP provider iPensions Group has said.
Client demand for accessing products and services online is transforming the industry with the impact of covid-19 speeding up the digital transformation and helping to reduce costs and risks for providers, iPensions Group says.
Technology will still need to be combined with high standards of personal service creating an opportunity for providers and advisers to demonstrate the value of specialist services and advice.
There is a real opportunity in 2021 for forward-thinking companies to build upon their experiences and innovate further for the benefit of clients and advisers."
However, its predictions and hopes for 2021 warn that the SIPP industry will see continued consolidation leaving firms which have not adopted new technology struggling and demonstrating a need for business leaders to look for strategic partnerships potentially including sharing technology platforms.
iPensions Group wishes to see greater vigilance on pension scams which continue to increase and, more importantly, an increased focus on preventing scams in the first place. In terms of the financial sector, it also wants to see a smooth Brexit transition and migration during 2021 building on the post-Brexit agreement between the European Union and the UK.
Group CEO, Sandra Robertson, said: "Covid-19 dominated last year, and those businesses which adapted quickly and looked after the wellbeing of their people were the ones that could continue to trade successfully whilst tackling the challenges of the pandemic. There is a real opportunity in 2021 for forward-thinking companies to build upon their experiences and innovate further for the benefit of clients and advisers.
"More needs to go online and happen digitally as technology will help advisers to do business more efficiently and become the new normal post-covid.
"People want instant information but also personal service and the key to retaining clients is combining that well with technology."
iPensions Group highlights the rising cost of Professional Indemnity cover and regulatory costs as a major issue which is hitting providers who are already under pressure due to price competition and also having to prioritise investment in new technology. The cost pressure should also mean increased recognition for the value of the services provided.
iPensions Group has made significant investments in technology as part of its growth strategy driven by a focus on innovation in the SIPP market as well as efficient and timely support for advisers and members.