Pension freedom barriers to be removed

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The government has introduced a range of measures aimed at removing barriers that may be stopping people from being able to access their pensions.

In January, the Chancellor announced that he would be giving the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) the duty to cap excessive early exit charges. FCA data shows that around 16% of customers in contract-based schemes who are able to access their pension could face an early exit charge.

Other measures outlined are:

  • the introduction of a new requirement for trust-based pensions schemes to regularly report on performance in processing transfers
  • new guidance from The Pensions Regulator to ensure transfers are quick and accurate for scheme trustees
  • Pension Wise will develop new content for customers on the transfer process.

Further research by the FCA found that the average transfer time for a FCA regulated contract-based scheme is 16 days. Data form The Pension Regulator shows that transfers for trust-based schemes typically take around 39 days.

Speaking in January Chancellor George Osborne, said:

“We’re determined that people who’ve done the right thing and saved responsibly are able to access their pensions fairly.”

Baroness Ros Altmann, minister for Pensions, said:

“No consumers should have to pay excessive early exit fees, regardless of the type of scheme that they are in.”

For further information about accessing your pension please contact Sue Stephens or John Elliott.