2015 has been a landmark year for pension
savers and indeed for the pensions industry. Pension freedoms came into effect in April.
These were the proposals that George Osborne in April 2014 – or indeed March 2014 in
that year’s Budget which meant that everyone who had been pension saving on retirement
could get their hands on their money where previously they’d have to buy an annuity.
We did have warnings from the naysayers that once people got their hands on this hard saved
cash, there would be a Lamborghini moment and retirees everywhere would go out and splash
that cash. It didn’t happen you’ll be glad to hear. However, the jury is still out on
the success of the measures. People with smaller pots, for example, have not fared as well
as those with larger pots who were able to get bespoke advice on how to invest that post-retirement
portfolio. This year also saw a record number of people auto-enrolled into workplace pension
schemes. The number of people now in workplace pension schemes thanks to auto-enrollment
is more than 20 million. Next year we shall see those in the smallest companies be auto-enrolled,
those in companies with employees of less than 30 people. This will be quite difficult
for smaller businesses who up until now perhaps have not had a pension scheme in place and
already there are rumours that this deadline should be pushed back. Next year for pension
savers will also be important because we will see the introduction of this new flat rate
state pension of at the moment £156 a week. How successful these two measures will be?
We’ll have to wait and see.