Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has stepped up the tough talk against providers who are not offering their customers full pensions flexibility.
Writing in The Telegraph this weekend, Duncan Smith says he will “name and shame” providers who are stopping savers from accessing their pension pots.
He says: “Two months into the reforms, we are watching the market closely. I know the pensions industry is working on the design of new and innovative drawdown products and many providers have stepped up to the plate and are already offering their customers flexibility.
“But I am concerned when I hear that some firms still appear to be dragging their feet.
“I have a message for those firms: it is your responsibility to sort this out, and look after your customers. After all, you are holding their money – not your own.”
Duncan Smith that both he and pensions minister Ros Altmann are monitoring the situation, and the Government will be holding talks with regulators and industry over the issue.
He adds: “We will not hesitate to take action to ensure that consumers get a good deal, and if we have to we are prepared to name and shame those companies who are putting barriers in the way of people getting access to their money.”
The comments come after it emerged earlier this month Friends Life could not give customers access to flexi-access drawdown and uncrystallised funds pension lump sums.
Providers are not compelled to offer full pension freedoms. Legacy products and older computer systems mean some firms would need to invest significant sums to be able to offer partial access to pension pots.