As clients start getting their pre-retirement packs, Scottish Widows has developed a website to help customers understand their choices post April 2015, Robert Cochran has said.
Unveiling the website, Retirement Explained, the pensions development manager at Scottish Widows said it would provide clear, comprehensive and jargon-free information on all the choices announced in this year’s Budget.
Based on conversations with a range of people about their own retirement options, the website – at www.scottishwidows.co.uk/retirementexplained/retirement-explained – uses a series of generic case studies to take people through what it would mean, for example, to annuitise, or to take the whole of their pension pot as cash.
Within these case studies are interactive calculator tools that will help clients and advisers explain the effect that taking all, or part, of the pension pot will have, for example looking at the amount of tax that would be payable based on certain decisions at retirement.
The site also points users – who do not have to be Scottish Widows customers – to independent financial advice through a link to official pensions guidance, including the guaranteed guidance that the government will be introducing in the coming months.
Mr Cochran said the launch coincided with the wake-up packs that are being distributed to customers six months ahead of their expected retirement dates, to help keep them on track with their retirement plans.
He said: “There remains a lack of understanding and certainty about what the changes actually mean and how they affect individual circumstances.
“We must collectively ensure that customers do not rush in and make the wrong decisions due to this lack of understanding.”
David Trenner, technical director of Glasgow-based IFA Intelligent Pensions, said: “Generally we do not use Scottish Widows’ annuities as we think there are better rates elsewhere, but they are right about the jargon. I once did a pensions presentation and filled two slides up with acronyms.
“We work in this industry and probably know what these things mean, but pensions can be flipping complicated, so it is good to help people understand what the changes mean.”