The results from the research carried out by The National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF) – four months after the government brought in the pension freedoms and choice – provided no surprise. The industry always knew it would face an uphill task and the new legislation would bring with it many new learning curves.

According to the research – Pensions Freedoms: Breaking the Deadlock (Understanding Retirement; Wave II Interim Report), the flexibility and freedom offered has actually meant ‘more frustration and captivity’.

Before the introduction of the freedoms, many of the headlines alluded to the fact that large numbers would access their full pension pots and spend, spend, spend. However, according to this piece of research, large numbers of consumers ‘remain unsure’ of their course of action, or are waiting for the market to develop.

And the market does – very much – need to develop…we’re just at the beginning of a process which needs a great deal of refining.

Research feedback included:

– “Several barriers remain for schemes to develop solutions or signpost their members to good products.
– “Few schemes are designed to facilitate drawdown and trustees, schemes and their administrators face very considerable costs if seeking to build drawdown within schemes.

“The sector lacks people with experience of drawdown who can develop the solutions.”

The industry continues to evolve to meet the needs of the legislation, but it requires support from the Government to do this effectively. At the end of the day consumers need to be protected and to be provided the best possible options – after all this is about giving them freedom and choice. And, for now, many do not feel this is what they are being provided.

It will be interesting to watch how the market responds and adapts over the next few months and years…

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