Government doesn’t trust pension pot owners
I particularly like it when applied to politicians; they are after all famous for saying things that word describes perfectly.
Take for example the freedom and choice in pensions introduced from April this year.
Pension pot owners, age 55 or over, are able to take as much, or as little, as they wish from their pension pots.
They can take the money all in one go or in a series of payments.
For some pension pot owners the all in one go approach makes sense for others making sure they have enough left for the future should be the goal.
The government claims that they “trust” the public to use their pension pots wisely. Their behaviour on the other hand smacks of being disingenuous.
If we trust the pension pot owner why create Pension Wise the service paid for by the financial services sector to deliver guidance (from The Citizens Advice Bureaux or The Pensions Advisory Service) to those pension pot owners?
Why create the second line of defence requiring pension pot providers to check with clients trying to access their money that they have taken guidance or advice before doing so?
If we truly trust people to spend their own money, why create such a complex and confusing environment for the consumer?
Many pension pot owners are complaining that providers are being obstructive and insisting that they take advice before they will release their pension cash.
Product providers on the other hand are claiming that they are fearful of releasing cash just in case they face a future claim when the pension pot owner runs out of money.
It is time for the new Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions Ros Altmann to write her first “Dear CEO” letter.
She should, today, write to each pension pot provider and, in simple and direct language, tell them that pension pot owners, if they so wish, can take their pension pot without guidance or advice and that there will be no comeback on the pension pot providers if they later run out of money.
The government either trusts pension pot owners or they don’t. Which is it?