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Pension withdrawals continued to soar in the third quarter of 2018 leading to suggestions that some pensions savers are treating their pensions like bank accounts, dipping in to withdraw cash when they need it.
The launch of a new FCA and TPR campaign to boost awareness of pensions scams has been welcomed by the profession.
A record £2.3bn was taken out of pensions pots under Pension Freedoms rules in the second quarter of 2018, HMRC figures have revealed.
When the pension freedoms were introduced it meant radical changes in a short space of time, with providers scurrying round to be ready and the FCA playing catch-up after the event – most recently in the form of the Retirement Outcomes Review final report.
Research has found that 20% of pension savers aged over 50 have changed their retirement plans because of the Pension Freedoms as the retirement planning sector sees a major change in direction.
Retirees using the Pensions Freedoms are demanding more flexibility on income withdrawal and driving demand for financial advice.
Financial Planning and retirement advice company LEBC has called for the creation off a new ‘cooling off’ period on pension withdrawals under Pension Freedoms.
The managing director of global advisor firm Duff & Phelps has said Pension Freedoms have encouraged scammers. 
The Association of British Insurers has released a five point plan aimed at ‘engaging’ consumers with their retirement options far earlier in life than currently.

The ABI is concerned that half of fully withdrawn pension pots are not spent but shifted into other savings and investments which the ABI says could mean consumers paying too much tax and also missing out on compound investment growth.

It fears some consumers are blundering due to lack of long term planning and engagement with their retirement options.

The trade body’s plan is contained in a new report, Interventions in the Retirement Market, which outlines a series of measures the financial provider trade body wants to see.



The ABI says that three years on from the dawn of pension flexibility reforms under the Pension Freedom changes, it is “stepping up” efforts to ensure that consumers are getting the best out of their retirement.

The ABI’s five point plan promotes active consumer engagement – empowering consumers to make their own, well-informed decisions through improved communications and use of guidance.

The five interventions the ABI wants to see are:

• Intervention 1: Tailored and phased customer communications throughout a saver’s life
• Intervention 2: Creating the mid-life MOT
• Intervention 3: Prompting more people to use guidance
• Intervention 4: Making the retirement risk warnings fit for purpose
• Intervention 5: Improvements to communications once someone has retired

Rob Yuille, head of retirement policy at the ABI, said: "Pension freedoms put more power into the hands of consumers, but this flexibility also increased the complexity and risks that consumers face.

“Our recommendations are for interventions that will transform the way people interact with their pension pots and help people navigate their choices. We’re calling on a number of stakeholders today to help us to deliver the practical steps needed to make these interventions happen.”
One of my techie colleagues has recently done some analysis on the most common queries we have dealt with in the department in the last 18 months.
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