The Professional Insurance Brokers Association in association with Standard Life recently conducted research in Ireland to examine the real benefits of professional financial advice. Similar research has taken place in the UK and Australia and the results are consistent with earlier studies in the UK.

The financial services market has been undergoing a transformation to meet customers’ changing needs. Advisers are exploring how advice is delivered and how clients value and pay for it. They are investing in higher qualifications and are examining how they run their own business to develop a more transparent and flexible structure. Financial advice is becoming much more strategic.

Advice from a professional can provide reassurance about your financial situation and show the real value of advice.

The results of the survey are clear.

Almost half of Irish adults (48%) have used a Financial Broker to help with their financial needs, with 16% engaging with a Financial Broker at least once a year. The split was almost equal between men and women.

Regionally there are no significant differences, with between 44% and 52% of adults in each province having used a Financial Broker in the past.

Retired adults (61%) are most likely to have consulted a financial adviser, than those yet to retire.

Life insurance is far more commonly held by those who have received advice versus those who haven’t (57% compared to 27%).

The gap is also evident for other products with the advised group nearly twice as likely to have a pension (56% compared to 30%) and have a higher amount saved of €24,200 against €13,500.

Those who have used a Financial Broker have nearly double the savings and investments than those who don’t, with an average of €37,300 compared to €20,700.

The survey shows the advised group is better protected and provided for; having sought advice on products that meet their needs and circumstances. With more money invested and greater financial security, people feel more in control and therefore have greater confidence in their finances, both now and in the longer term.