“We no longer have a private sector pension system in the UK” as a result of the 2015 freedom and choice reforms, Pensions Institute director David Blake has stated.
Speaking at a Longevity 14 conference press briefing, Blake explained: “The moment you get rid of the requirement to annuitise as part of a pension product, you stop having a pension product and start just having asset accumulation. You have just got savings.
“Overnight, [with the announcement of pension freedoms, implemented by former Chancellor of the Exchequer] George Osborne ended the British private pension system. And we are now seeing the consequences of that.”
He described this as people “sleepwalking” into a retirement savings “catastrophe”.
According to Blake, 60 per cent of new retirees with guaranteed annuity rates have surrendered them in order to access the lump sum, with £16bn withdrawn since 2015. By doing this, he said, they have lost at least 40-80 per cent of their assets.
“People desperately want money and are spending it far too quickly. The financial planning community says you should draw down 4 per cent per annum, but people are taking out 6-10 per cent and thinking that will last a lifetime. We all know with low returns, it will not,” he explained.