Never has there been a time so challenging for those reaching retirement. Gilt yields have hit absolute rock bottom, squeezing already painfully low annuity rates even more, and the situation looks unlikely to improve significantly anytime soon.
Those in drawdown have not escaped the impact, either. As if the eye-wateringly low Gad rates seen in recent months were not enough, those pulling an income from their pension pot can now draw only 100 per cent Gad, down from the previous 120 per cent. While this has been in place since April 2011, it applies to each individual when they reach their review date, creating a need for detailed advice as clients come to terms with a potentially huge drop in income.
The gender directive, coming in to force on 21 December, is also creating waves in the retirement space. On the drawdown side, women will be able to take the same maximum income as men – a good thing potentially, although the necessity to ensure the funds will last throughout retirement remains. Annuity rates are likely to prove more controversial, with unisex rates expected to err towards those offered to women, rather than men getting a more favourable deal.
All these factors add up to a world of choices and decisions to be made when reaching retirement, and that’s before even looking at whether an enhanced annuity should be taken. There is little doubt that clients need to be guided through these rocky waters, and the peace of mind – and increased income – gained by consulting an adviser is invaluable.