The breakdown, which was obtained by annuity provider MGM Advantage under a freedom of information (FOI) request, shows 93 per cent of those using flexible drawdown withdrew less than £50,000 in the tax year 2011-2012.
Of 1,708 people in flexible drawdown, who withdrew more than £85m in total, the breakdown was:
• Less than £50,000: 1,391 individuals
• £50,000-£99,999: 181 individuals
• £100,000-£249,999: 82 individuals
• £250,000-£499,000: 29 individuals
• £500,000-£999,999: 18 individuals
• More than £1m: four individuals
The average payment was £49,956.
For those taking less than £50,000, a significant proportion – 37 per cent – withdrew up to £10,000.
This was followed by 387 individuals taking an income of between £10,000 and £20,000; 200 people withdrawing £20,001-£30,000; 122 people withdrawing £30,001-£40,000; and 77 people withdrawing £40,001-£50,000.
Andrew Tully, pensions technical director at MGM Advantage, said the figures reflect intelligent use of drawdown by advisers and their clients.
“It seems clear from these figures that people, with their advisers’ help, are using flexible drawdown in a tax-efficient manner,” he said.
“Rather than withdraw their whole fund at once and pay substantial income tax, people are taking smaller amounts to top up their other income while minimising the income tax they pay. This also means the residual funds remain within the tax-efficient pensions wrapper.”