ABI: £1.8bn withdrawn since pension freedoms launch

Pensions-savings-retirement-piggy bank

Savers have withdrawn £1.8bn in the first two months of the pension freedoms, according to figures from the Association of British Insurers.

In April and May, savers took out £1bn in 65,000 cash withdrawals from pension pots. The average pot taken was £15,500.

There have also been 170,000 withdrawals from income drawdown policies, worth £800m.

Savers have bought 11,300 annuity policies, worth £630m. And 10,300 income drawdown plans have been purchased, worth £720m.

This compares to £1.2bn a month in annuity sales at their peak in 2012, when £100m per month was put into income drawdown products.

The average annuity was purchased with £55,750 in April and May, and the average fund put into drawdown was £69,900.

Since the pension freedoms were introduced, 45 per cent of those buying an annuity shopped around and chose a different provider. Some 52 per cent of those buying an income drawdown product went with a different provider.

ABI director for long-term savings policy Yvonne Braun says: “This is an important reminder that tens of thousands of people are successfully accessing the pension freedoms as intended and on the whole the industry has risen to the challenge of giving customers what they want.

“The data shows people with smaller pots tend to be cashing them out while those with larger pots tend to be buying a regular income product.”