The individual pensions market in 2013 and how we are supporting it.
The pensions industry has undergone a lot of change and we expect this to continue over the coming years particularly at the lower end of the market.
The government has decided that the best way for people to save for their retirement is through an employer sponsored scheme and so these people will be less likely to take out an individual pension on their own account.
In addition the advent of RDR means advice will be harder to come by for this end of the market due to the cost of providing it.
Scottish Widows' senior manager -market development Ian Naismith believes the more high net worth end of the market will be less affected, though there remain a number of issues for these people to get to grips with.
Reductions in the lifetime and annual allowances have eroded the possibility of saving significant amounts into a pension. It is unlikely that we will see an end to pension tax changes any time soon.
In addition we are also seeing a tightening up of the SIPP regime with work being done on capital adequacy requirements as well as increased regulation. We will see some consolidation among providers in the industry.
People are also looking at their at-retirement options. Changes to GAD will help those customers in income drawdown. This market could be further boosted if we see interest rate increases as this could further boost the maximum income that can be taken.
We are also seeing strong demand for products providing guarantees.
These are currently expensive due to low interest rates and high volatility.
However, should these issues settle down, then we could see these products come to dominate the market.
In terms of Scottish Widows' presence in the market the Retirement Account was designed with RDR in mind. The product makes clear differentiation between service charges, investment charges and the cost of advice.
Over the past year further enhancements have been made to accommodate a range of options for adviser charging.
In addition the Retirement Account enables clients to move seamlessly from the retirement planning to the retirement income phase.
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