Heralded as an opportunity to give pension holders both the responsibility and flexibility to use their funds as they wish, those over 55 years of age will no longer be required to accept a default annuity which is unlikely to provide a satisfactory retirement income.
By throwing the rulebook in the air, the Chancellor has created the need for a massive change within the industry and there is concern that the speed of change has been too fast. Pension Providers have had insufficient time to create the systems necessary to support the proposed offerings, so there could be many confused and disgruntled clients.
Personally I believe the main area of concern is the danger of a knee-jerk reaction as thousands of pension holders withdraw their funds at the earliest opportunity. This would be provoked by the roller-coaster ride of the stock market and the resulting pain experienced by many in the recent troubled years. The latest predictions suggest more than 200,000 will follow this route and although Government is promising financial advice, it is debatable whether there will be enough advisors ready to cope with the influx of clients.
Why is financial advice so important?
Because although accessibility will now be granted (for those over age 55) it doesn't mean that this necessarily represents the most astute financial decision, even if, dare I say, the funds are to be invested in property.