Work and Pensions Committee to scrutinise UK pension freedoms

The Work and Pensions Committee at the UK Parliament has opened the second part of its inquiry into the impact of the pension freedoms and the protection of savers.

The committee is looking at pensions freedom five years since it was first introduced in Britain.

This second phase of the three-stage inquiry is to focus on protection measures for those who are moving from saving for retirement to drawing down their pension. 

Pensions scams, in particular, formed a central focus to the first phase of the inquiry, which closed last month.

Stephen Timms MP, chair of the Work and Pensions Committee, said yesterday: "The freedoms shook up the pension system five years ago and the dust is still settling. For the first part of our inquiry into the pension freedoms we have been hearing about pension scams and the worst outcomes people can face. For the next stage of our inquiry, we are looking not only at how people can avoid bad outcomes but how they can achieve good ones."

"The aim of the pension freedoms was to give people freedom to make choices about how they access their pension savings. We will be looking at what choices people now have, five years on, and what support they need to make an informed choice."

Jon Greer, head of retirement policy at Quilter: "Five years on, pension freedoms have undoubtably been a great step forward in giving people more choice and flexibility in retirement. But as with any radical change there will always be some teething problems that need to be ironed out."

"After investigating the scourge of pension scams and how scammers have shifted towards investment scams as a response to pension freedoms, the Committee will now take stock of people's retirement planning options."

Greer added: "Pension freedoms gave people unprecedented choice in planning their own retirement. For many, this will be one of the most important financial decisions they make in their life, and having a solid strategy in place could be the difference between having a comfortable retirement or struggling to make ends meet.

"Navigating pension options is no easy feat, and one which won't be achieved without access to support, advice and guidance, so it is vital that there is attention in Parliament on whether people have access to the support they need to make informed choices, or whether further changes need to be made."

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