Seizing the Global HNW Pension Opportunity

Seizing the Global HNW Pension Opportunity


5.2 million HNW investors are of retirement age and 3.9 million HNW individuals will gain access to their pension assets within the next 10 years, freeing up a significant amount of wealth locked up in pension products. Being able to provide pre-retirement advice as well as advice on transition strategies will be critical, given increased churn rates when investors retire. However, only 65% of providers in the HNW space offer pension and retirement planning advice, predominately via partnerships.

On the flipside, 64% of wealth managers report strong HNW demand for pension planning globally. Yet demand varies considerably on a country-by-country basis due to various factors, such as the sophistication of the local pension system, cultural factors, trust in the government, the role of employers, and the makeup of the local HNW market.

Drawing on our proprietary research, this report provides insight into the HNW pension and retirement market across 20 key markets. In particular, it examines the drivers behind pension investments now and over the next 12 months.


  • Globally, 36% of HNW wealth is held via some form of pension funds or accounts. 43% of this share is allocated to traditional pension funds.
  • Taxes are the main pension driver in the HNW space, with tax advantages for passing on wealth accounting for 16% of allocations and tax advantages for current income accounting for 13%.
  • Private pension penetration rises with affluence. More than two thirds of mass affluent individuals hold private pension products, compared to 44% among those in lower asset bands.
Reasons to Buy
  • Learn about current HNW demand for pension investments and the types of pensions sought.
  • Give your marketing strategies the edge required and capture new clients using insights from our data on HNW investment drivers.
  • Learn how and why HNW investment preferences will change over the next 12 months.
  • Understand how demand patterns change across different levels of affluence in order to target segments more effectively.
  • Understand how pension product penetration differs across countries to identify key target markets.

  • Executive Summary
    • Market summary
    • Key findings
    • Critical success factors
  • Sizing the HNW Pension Opportunity
    • The 5.2 million HNW investors who are of retirement age present a lucrative opportunity
      • Many HNW investors already have access to their pension assets
      • The opportunity is not spread equally across the globe
        • Table Figure 1: In the US, 2.8 million HNW individuals are of retirement age – accounting for the bulk of the region's opportunity
    • 31.6% of HNW individuals will be of retirement age within the next 10 years
      • 3.9 million HNW individuals will gain access to their pension assets within the next 10 years
        • Table Figure 2: Almost a third of HNW individuals globally will reach retirement age within the next decade
      • Offering pension advice is critical in China due to the massive pre-retirement demographic
  • HNW Pension Planning Demand and Provision
    • Offering pension advice is critical as more players enter the market
      • 65% of wealth managers in the HNW space offer pension and retirement planning, but many do so via partnerships
        • Table Figure 3: HNW demand for pension planning is particularly pronounced in South Africa and New Zealand
      • New entrants pose an additional threat to assets under management
    • Demand for pension planning services varies considerably across countries
      • A lack of trust in the government and the economy underpins HNW demand for international pensions in South Africa
      • German HNW investors regard pension planning as an integral part of the wealth planning process as they believe the Riester and Rürup pensions to be insufficient
        • Table Figure 4: German HNW investors are looking for sophisticated pension products
      • The prevalence of SMSFs provides a significant opportunity in Australia
        • Table Total asset range table for Australian SMSFs, 2016–17
      • The sizable number of HNW expats living in the Philippines will appreciate international pension advice
      • Pension advice in the HNW space cannot ignore the sizable entrepreneur segment
  • HNW Pension Investment Drivers
    • Convenience and tax considerations are driving demand for pension products
      • Table Figure 5: Tax considerations are a major driver of HNW pension allocations
    • Tax considerations are the number one driver for pension advice
      • Pension, tax, and inheritance planning go hand in hand
        • Table Figure 6: Inheritance tax considerations are an important pension product driver in the UK
      • Passing on wealth in a tax-efficient way is also a driver in countries with no inheritance taxes
      • Tax advantages for current income are critical in high-tax France
        • Table Figure 7: While underutilized, reducing income tax liabilities is the main driver for pension investments in France
    • The convenience of a readymade pension portfolio represents a strong draw for HNW investors
      • Table Figure 8: Convenience as a driver for pensions is of particular importance in developing markets
      • However, one strategy does not fit all
      • Chinese providers looking to attract pension assets need to focus on the convenience aspect
    • Other drivers include compulsory contributions, advisor recommendations, and low costs
      • The comparatively low importance of compulsory contributions as a pension driver suggests that HNW pension allocations significantly exceed the required minimum
      • HNW investors do not tend to rely on advisors for pension advice
        • Table Figure 9: Compulsory contributions are a key factor in most of the surveyed countries
      • Lower costs are only a minor driver, but the emergence of new business models will apply cost pressures
  • Global Private Pension Penetration
    • Private pension product penetration rises with level of affluence
      • 67.6% of mass affluent individuals hold private pension products
        • Table Figure 10: Private pension penetration rises with affluence
        • Table Figure 11: Retirement savings are a major concern for Canadian investors
        • Table Figure 12: Zuper pursues a crowd-powered strategy to differentiate itself among millennial investors
      • Private pension penetration peaks among Generation X, but millennials represent the next big opportunity
        • Table Figure 13: Globally 57.4% of Generation X hold private pension products
        • Table Figure 14: Millennials show strong interest in banking apps that allow access to non-traditional services
  • Appendix
    • Supplementary data
      • Table Why do HNW clients invest via a pension product/scheme, as opposed to other investments?, 2019
    • Abbreviations and acronyms
    • Definitions
      • Affluent
      • HNW
      • Liquid assets
      • Mass affluent
      • SMSF
    • Methodology
      • GlobalData's 2019 Global Wealth Managers Survey
      • GlobalData's 2018 Global Wealth Managers Survey
      • GlobalData's 2018 Retail Banking Insight Survey
      • Level of agreement calculation
    • Secondary sources
    • Further reading
    • About GlobalData
      • Table Figure 15: About GlobalData

Download our eBook: How to Succeed Using Market Research

Learn how to effectively navigate the market research process to help guide your organization on the journey to success.

Download eBook