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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

FCA proposes new ‘investment pathways’ for drawdown customers

Firms could be forced to offer a range of investment options to customers that enter pension drawdown without taking advice, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has announced today.

New investment options for savers ©Shutterstock
New investment options for savers ©Shutterstock

It is hoped that these ‘investment pathways’ will help prevent up to 100,000 savers losing out on pension income every year after moving into drawdown without advice.

The FCA has also proposed that customers’ investments are not defaulted into cash savings unless they choose this option, and that pension providers disclose charges.

It is estimated that the changes could benefit savers by £35m a year, with the FCA finding that around one in three recently entering drawdown are unsure where their money is invested.

“This leads to poor consumer outcomes,” executive director of strategy and competition, Christopher Woolard, said.

“Our proposals will help non-advised consumers select from four relatively simple choices, designed to meet their broad retirement objectives so they can maximise income in retirement.”

The FCA said smaller drawdown providers would be able to refer investors to another provider or the Single Financial Guidance Body’s drawdown comparator tool.

It said it expects firms to challenge themselves on the level of charges they impose on investment pathways, and that it may consider bringing in caps in the future.

The regulator is also amending information that firms must include in ‘wake-up’ packs for customers approaching retirement to make them more impactful and frequent.

Changes to wake-up packs and retirement risk warnings will come into force on 1 November, and new rules to make drawdown costs clearer on 6 April 2020, subject to consultation.

The Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association’s policy lead, George Currie, welcomed the changes and said customers must have the right framework to make informed choices.

“Non-engaged savers should benefit from choice architecture that helps them understand their objectives and find solutions that align with government-mandated principles,” he said.

“We envisage that these solutions would be a blend of cash, flexible income from investments, and guaranteed income.”

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