Saturday’s report by the Daily Telegraph was very blunt and in my mind accurate about some of the practices going on in arranging Annuities today.
SIPPcentre through their Chief Executive Andy Bell have consistently and actively lobbied for changes to the Drawdown rules, necessary to allow today and tomorrow’s retirees fair access to their Pension savings.
As a company with a foot in both camps, it is a tough question to answer. Is a client best served by someone who specialises in the area of need being discussed or does the ongoing relationship built up through years of trust with a local general practitioner enable clients to open up more and get to the right solution more often.
Being pension geeks we’ve had plenty of time to get our heads round this one, but we occasionally forget that not everyone is consumed with Pensions.
Arranging the shape of retirement income is always tricky. Clients are generally ignorant of or understate the potential effects of inflation increasing. Or they are planning to keep as much capital as possible for as long as possible just in case.
Ian Duncan Smith has confirmed at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham that the Government will press ahead with a new Flat rate Pension, though details of when and the level of the Pension are still to be confirmed.
There is one subject I find myself returning to time and again at the moment, Service and are people prepared to pay for it? Not everyone will realise, but, Financial Advisers and the product providers are going through a big cultural and systems change.
As a result, around 100,000 people stopped paying into a workplace pension last year, taking the number of members of company schemes to just 2.9 million, the lowest figure since 1953.
Annuities buyers have been offered the hope of better rates by a sudden rise in gilt yields – the Government’s cost of borrowing. Annuity rates are normally based on 15-year gilt yields, which rose sharply to 2.39pc at the end of last week, compared with recent levels of about 2.1pc.
The issue of turning Pension savings into income has fallen miserably into disrepute. Savers have faithfully placed their money into Pensions with the understanding that they will be able to draw it back out in Retirement, that is no longer the case.