Standard Life to remove flexi drawdown charges by April

Standard Life to remove flexi drawdown charges by April

Standard Life will remove the charges currently applied to its flexible drawdown product via its wrap as it prepares for pension freedom in April.

The one off set up charge of £208 and a one off early depletion charge of £312 will be removed, allowing advisers to efficiently access the full flexibilities through either wrap or their stand-alone self-invested personal pension.

The provider said this reflects the streamlining of processes for set up and the removal of the need to capture the minimum income requirement.

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David Tiller, Standard Life’s head of adviser platform propositions, said that from the feedback received from advisers it responded to the fundamentals - such as the reliability of income payments, the speed at which it can pay withdrawals on the day the client chooses and the quality of reporting.

“Instead of being seen as inaccessible and opaque, pensions are about to become consumers’ long-term savings vehicle of choice. Our role is to make it easy for advisers to access the flexibility, which is why we’ve decided to drop these additional drawdown charges.”

Standard Life’s wrap proposition is also being developed to support advisers to deliver their own specialist ‘in retirement’ service, partly through the recent launch of its Discretionary Plus investment service, with further enhancements to come including drawdown reporting and an investment hub multi-portfolio capability.

As previously reported by FTAdviser, Standard Life’s Active Money Personal Pension has no product or full withdrawal charges, but on flexi-access drawdown and uncrystallised drawdown it charges from 0.51 per cent.

In terms of other providers’ at-retirement propositions and charges, Sipp providers were found to levy the most for ad-hoc payments, with Barnett Waddingham and Talbot and Muir charging £200 per withdrawal and Hornbuckle charging an annual administration fee £175 and £50 per payment.

Among the larger life office providers, some esoteric examples included Royal London, which followed most peers in offering a free first payment, but “reserves the right” to charges a one-off £184 if more than one is taken in a given year.