Pensions industry deserves a ‘breather’

Pensions industry deserves a ‘breather’

The pensions industry needs a post-election breather, although such respite is becoming increasingly unlikely amid debates around the radical new pension freedoms coming in April, according to Talbot and Muir’s head of technical support Claire Trott.

Speaking to FTAdviser about expectations for 2015, Ms Trott said she hoped to see the unfair divisions removed between different types of pensions and options, giving greater access and flexibility without many of the current pitfalls.

“In addition, a little time for the industry to sort itself out and get all the systems in place to provide savers with the options they expect from all providers and not just those who can move quickly in the face of change.

“Will we see the tinkering stop? I fear not - and who knows what will happen if we have a total change of government?”

Ms Trott said the sentiment behind 2014’s whirlwind of pensions reform was generally welcomed by savers and professionals alike, but there was a sense that it could have been done in a more inclusive way.

“I suspect, the upcoming general election has pushed all these changes through at a rate to suit those in power and not those who have to implement the changes.

“The consultation that followed the Budget, which covered everything from the guidance guarantee to the minimum pension ages, was well received, but it is generally felt that many of the industry comments were not taken into consideration when the details were finally released.”

In terms of specific legislative changes set to impact providers next year, Ms Trott listed un-crystallised funds pension lumps sums, new flexible annuity and flexi-access drawdown, with additional restrictions being implemented through the money purchase annual allowance rules and reporting requirements, all making for a very different outlook.

“September heralded the end of the death tax, which was seen as unbelievable by many and too good to be true. This was not the case and additional changes in the Autumn Statement have given the annuity industry something back as well.

“Given increasing longevity, more and more people will live beyond 75, so this tax giveaway may not be as exciting as first predicted,” she added.