DrawdownMar 5 2019

Drawdown cash withdrawals set to surge

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Drawdown cash withdrawals set to surge
ByJennifer Turton

Drawdown cash withdrawals are expected to increase by more than a quarter as the end of the tax year nears. 

Analysis by Hargreaves Lansdown on the withdrawal trends of DIY drawdown investors found the tax year was a huge catalyst to remove money from pensions, with investors managing their money carefully to avoid unnecessary tax.

Its research, based on more than 12,000 withdrawals of Hargreaves investors, found 15 per cent of all pension cash outs typically took place in March. 

In addition, average income taken increased by 28 per cent in March and 40 per cent in April, according to the analysis.

The research, found 44 per cent of DIY drawdown investors had only moved part of their pension into drawdown, which allowed them to take only enough tax-free cash and was another sign that savers were managing their money wisely, according to Hargreaves. 

Nathan Long, senior analyst at the firm, said: "Despite the pension freedoms being introduced at breakneck speed, there’s mounting evidence most pensions savers are managing their money sensibly and are actively minimising their tax liabilities. 

"Rather than pulling money out irrespective of timing and tax implications, it seems many DIY pension savers are actually carefully managing their income according to their tax allowances. 

"The FCA and the government are introducing valuable measures to further simplify the process of navigating retirement but in the meantime this is welcome evidence many people are perfectly able to manage their own affairs."

Figures published by HM Revenue & Customs in November showed some £21.7bn had been withdrawn since the pension freedoms were introduced in April 2015.

At the end of January, HMRC admitted it had refunded £400m in overpaid tax since the pension freedoms were introduced. 

During the last quarter of 2018, the taxman refunded 14,000 people that had overpaid in an amount totalling £30.2m. 

Patrick Connolly, chartered financial planner at Chase de Vere, said: "It is a promising sign if investors are taking tax considerations into account when making withdrawals from their pensions.

"However, this is only one factor which they should consider, and there are real concerns that too many people are making pensions withdrawals without taking independent financial advice and without a long-term strategy or a real understanding of the risks they are taking."