Few writing an annual outlook 12 months ago would have been able to predict the transformational change to pensions that subsequently followed.
Never one to shy away from a challenge though, Greg Kingston gave FTAdviser a rundown of the 10 things he expects next year to bring:
1. There will be a significant number of investors who withdraw all or significant proportions of their pension funds to purchase a buy to let property, paying a large income tax premium to do so.
2. Administration at many pension and platform businesses will creak, and in some cases crack, under the sheer volume of requests to withdraw pension funds and alter income amounts, with volumes driven even higher by spending over the Easter break before the new access is available.
3. The Pension Tracing Service will see requests triple compared to 2014.
4. Complaints about unregulated investments will sharply increase, catalysed by investors looking to withdraw part or all of their pension funds and only learning at that point the true nature, liquidity and value of their investments.
5. Asset managers and platforms will experience a temporary drop in revenue due to the sudden volume of assets being divested and subsequently withdrawn.
Worried that the predictions so far are not sufficiently full of seasonal cheer, Mr Kingston was keen to balance them with some more positive thoughts:
6. Amid all the headlines about unexpected income tax bills, delays in accessing pension money and worries that the nation is spending its future savings today, there will be a quiet majority who, when faced with the temptations of new pension access, simply make some good decisions and carry on with saving or their retirement.
7. Driven in part by auto-enrolment and part by greater awareness of pensions, the UK household’s savings ratio will increase in 2015.
8. The pensions guidance will encourage more people to seek out financial advice and they will benefit from it.
Finally, Mr Kingston gave a couple of predictions of what to expect from Suffolk Life in 2015:
9. Further integration with direct fund managers, providing a cost effective way for advisers to recommend DFM pension solutions for their clients, adding to the 30 it already works with.
10. Next September will mark the 12-month countdown to new capital requirements for Sipp operators and is likely to trigger further consolidation. “Should that happen then expect Suffolk Life to play an active role,” he added.