Advisors who have a niche practice serving seniors could find themselves with more clients.

That’s because Canada’s population of seniors continues to rise. In 2015, for example, seniors outnumbered children 14 and under for the first time.

A focus on serving seniors is evident in a new offering from BMO SmartFolio, the online portfolio management service offered through BMO Nesbitt Burns. RRIFs are now an account option available with the online platform.

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“There is increased demand from retirees for accounts such as RRIFs to help with their growing investment needs,” says Silvio Stroescu, president of BMO InvestorLine, in a release.

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The long game

The rise in the number of seniors goes hand in hand with increased life expectancies. When creating financial plans, many advisors now commonly aim to fund retirement through age 90. But what if life expectancy could be more accurately assessed?

In the pension industry, conventional wisdom holds that public-sector pensioners live longer than private-sector pensioners. But that assumption’s being turned on its head with research from Club Vita, which provides longevity analytics to pension plans.

“Based on our data and statistical modelling, we’ve found that a much more accurate and reliable picture of how long pensioners [live] can be captured by […] the attributes of individuals, as opposed to their plan[s],” says Richard Brown, senior longevity consultant at Club Vita Canada, in a release.

He says that for male pensioners age 65, a nine-year difference in life expectancy is evident based on attributes like postal codes, which identify lifestyle and socio-economic status. In the U.K., postal codes have been used by pension plans and insurers for some time; in Canada, insurers already use postal codes.

Though the research is important to assess the benefits and costs of transferring longevity risk for pension plans, the research would be equally valuable for financial planning.

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