Annuity law relaxed
Revolutionising investor attitudes towards pensions
The Treasury has announced that it is looking to relax the law requiring everyone to buy an annuity by age 75. This follows the coalition government’s decision in the emergency Budget to end compulsory annuitisation by April 2011.
The aim is to revolutionise investor attitudes towards pensions and encourage greater retirement saving so that we take greater responsibility for our financial futures. It will also mean that everyone who invests in a pension can retain control of their pension assets right through until the day they die.
The proposed law change is aimed at giving individuals greater flexibility over how they use the savings they have accumulated. This would see the replacement of some pension tax rules with a new system that gives people greater freedom and choice.
This consultation is a revolutionary change and also includes tax breaks available on pensions. It is expected that investors will have the choice of buying an annuity, as at present, and in addition they will have a choice of two drawdown options to select from.
Investors who can demonstrate that they have secured a minimum level of income will have the choice of taking money from a flexible drawdown plan at will. This means receiving it all back in one go as a cash sum if required. Income withdrawals will be subject to income tax.
For those investors with insufficient income to satisfy the ‘minimum income requirement’, there will be the option of a capped drawdown. This capped drawdown will have fairly conservative income limits, designed to ensure that investors never run out of money.
Those investors who do not want to take the high risk involved with drawdown will still be able to convert their pension fund into an annuity, which will pay a secure taxable income for life.
The death benefit rules are changing and becoming simpler and the government has confirmed that it will be ending the Alternatively Secured Pension.
The value of investments and the income from them can go down as well as up and you may not get back your original investment. Past performance is not an indication of future performance. Tax benefits may vary as a result of statutory change and their value will depend on individual circumstances. Thresholds, percentage rates and tax legislation may change in subsequent finance acts.