40% of decumulation products purchased without regulated advice in 2021

Around 104,774 (40 per cent) of the 262,261 decumulation products bought in 2021 were purchased without professional, regulated advice, analysis of data from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) by Just Group has revealed.

This represented the highest number of sales of non-advised decumulation solutions since the 2015 pension ‘freedom and choice’ reforms, with non-advised purchases trending higher from a low of 33 per cent in 2015 to 41 per cent in the last quarter of 2021.

Just Group group communications director, Stephen Lowe argued that the long-term trend has been a decreasing use of advice by consumers when they are making complex choices around how to use savings to fund retirement.

Lowe also stated that the long-term trend has seen a decreasing use of advice of consumers when they are making complex choices around how to use savings to fund retirement.

The FCA’s data only includes sales of decumulation products – guaranteed income for life and drawdown plans. It therefore doesn’t include the over 300,000 defined contribution pensions that are fully withdrawn each year.

Stephen Lowe commented: “We are now seven years on from the ‘freedom and choice’ reforms and take-up of professional advice and free guidance is going backwards – surely this can’t be what the government had in mind?

“Pension Wise is the lifebelt George Osborne promised every saver when pension freedoms were announced but only the rare few get it."

Lowe also pointed out that evidence given to the Work and Pensions Committee by Maps found that an earlier nudge is more effective in getting people to Pension Wise, although the Department for Work and Pensions previously rejected calls to trial automatic Pension Wise appointments earlier this year.

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