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Pension savers with smallest pots still struggling for freedom and choice, says NAPF

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Government must act quickly to encourage a pensions market which meets the needs of all savers, according to the National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF).

The NAPF has published new research commissioned to understand what the 2.2m people aged 55-70 with approximately GBP175 billion in defined contribution (DC) pension pots not yet in payment plan to do with their savings under the new Pension Freedom reforms.

The research found that 70 per cent were attracted to the idea of drawdown. This implies a potential market of 1.5m investors and between GBP50 billion to GBP100 billion in assets. Of particular note was that even among those with smaller pots (less than GBP25,000) the majority (54 per cent) were attracted to the idea of drawdown.

Joanne Segars (pictured), Chief Executive, NAPF, says: “While all savers can still transfer their pot from a scheme or buy an annuity, many are understandably frustrated at what they perceive as a lack of the promised flexible options, such as drawdown. It’s easy to see the appeal to savers of drawdown − it offers flexibility, control and investment growth. But what’s concerning are the assumptions that many people have about drawdown:  just over half (53 per cent) of the people we asked believe drawdown will offer a guaranteed income and one quarter (25 per cent) thought that drawdown carried no risks at all.

“The NAPF and our members want to see all pension savers, including those with smaller pots, offered the full freedom and choice promised to them by the Chancellor in his 2014 Budget. For this to happen we have to see a market develop that works for all savers, with products that are transparently priced and offer value for money, designed to help savers navigate the twenty or thirty years during which they will rely on their pension savings. These products will need to be well run and clearly communicated to customers.

“The plain truth is these products aren’t yet freely and readily available for savers with small pension pots. Government must act now to encourage a pensions market that works in the interest of all savers including those with smaller pension savings.”

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