UK - The middle ground in corporate pension consulting looks set to disappear with larger organisations and niche firms taking the lead, Bluefin predicted.
Bluefin Corporate Consulting managing director Nick Burns believes smaller consultants will come under increasing pressure as the employee benefit market changes.
He explained: "The one and two-man bands in the corporate sector just won't survive, especially post-RDR. I think you will see some very niche, specialist firms and then you are going to have big scale firms. The middle ground that you have had for many years will disappear."
In December last year, JLT bought HSCB Actuaries and Consultants for £27m (US$41.2m). This followed the merger of Towers Perrin and Watson Wyatt first announced in June, 2009 and completed in January (Global Pensions; January 4, 2010).
The Bluefin brand, which is backed by Axa, was the culmination of a series of mergers and acquisitions in 2008.
Burns also said the traditional defined benefit advice market remained a big area for consultants.
"Most final salary schemes are closing; if they have not already closed they will continue to close. We see it as a growth area - because these clients need help. Most of them are unable to release their liabilities now, but they want to. They need to manage their liabilities much better and it is a long-term game."
He added: "Roughly half our business is final salary, the other half is what I would call ‘new world'. What is also going to be interesting is the impact of the changing workforce demographic and whether people want to remain in pension schemes at all."
The top stories this week were the High Court's decision to block the £12bn annuity transfer from Prudential to Rothesay Life, and a separate court ruling that 'raises the bar' for pension rectification exercises.
Guaranteed minimum pension (GMP) equalisation has soared to the top of pension schemes' to-do lists, with 58% stating it is a priority project, research from Equiniti has revealed.
Professional Pensions is holding its defined contribution (DC) conference on 4 September.