Field slates FCA's 'devilishly glacial pension progress'

"The majority of these consumers do not want to take professional advice or pay for it, so it is down to them to get it right."

Providers, trade bodies and politicians are also welcoming the watchdog's stance on non-advised drawdown.

Alistair Wilson, Zurich's head of retail platform strategy, told FTAdviser that the research results show the "FCA is not seeing the speed of movement it wants on cost disclosure and customer communication".

The regulator's report showed drawdown fees vary from 0.4 to 1.6 per cent between providers, and are, on average, higher than in accumulation (where in some cases they are capped at 0.75 per cent).

Mr Wilson said: "Many providers – mostly but not exclusively those offering non-advised drawdown - impose a variety of ad hoc ancillary costs. 

"Indeed, the FCA identified a staggering 44 different associated charges. This can make it impossible for consumers to understand the extent of the true costs they are paying.

"Exposing such costs may help to drive more transparent and lower charges for customers but calculating them will still remain an issue."

Jessica List, pension technical manager at Curtis Banks, argued that the regulator seems "to be proceeding cautiously with exploring the idea of investment pathways, acknowledging the challenges and offering options to be explored."

She said: "This is very welcome: it appears to recognise that there is a wide range of products in the market to suit the varying needs of a wide spectrum of investors, and any remedies need to be mindful of that fact."

Simon Harrington, senior policy adviser at the Personal Investment Management & Financial Advice Assocation (Pimfa), noted the FCA has "struck the right balance" with the proposed measures.

He said: "In our view, these interventions lay the foundations for the market to innovate further whilst also ensuring that disengaged and vulnerable consumers are able to take a retirement income in a manner that is safe but also inclusive.

"Clearly, we believe that consumers who are advised will tend to get better outcomes, but we need to be realistic about the nature of the market for advice. These measures will ensure that as many people as possible can benefit from the freedom and choice policy."