Annuity Armageddon?

The jaw dropping changes announced by the Government to the UK retirement income market in this year’s Budget certainly caught the industry by complete surprise. In the consultation document entitled, ‘Freedom and choice in pensions’, the Treasury outlined its vision of a more flexible pensions system that will foster and encourage a culture of savings by offering consumers unfettered access to their pension fund. So from next April there will be no restrictions on a consumer’s ability to draw down funds from their Defined Contribution (DC) pension pot from age 55 and the tax rules will be drastically simplified to allow that to happen.

Threats must be confronted

Over the past decade, the financial sector has increased its reliance upon technology at an incredible rate. In contemporary business, the processes and interactions undertaken by investors, managers and between institutions are almost unrecognisable from even five or ten years ago. Whilst such technology continues to become more proficient, the threats and security considerations that must be confronted by firms also do, such threats can be both large and small.

What took you so long, George?

With the now well quoted “Let me be clear: no one will have to buy an annuity” the Chancellor focused post Budget commentary on the anti-annuity theme, and the eye watering reaction of insurer share prices following the announcement. The upheaval detracted from the broader more positive message underpinning his proposed pension reforms, which is that properly advised consumer choice will lead to better outcomes for people in their retirement.

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