Aviva eyes safety features for non-advised drawdown

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Aviva is exploring the addition of automatic functions that aim to protect the first wave of non-advised drawdown customers.

The UK’s largest life company launched a direct-to-consumer platform in June following the introduction of the pension freedoms, which have seen thousands of people engage with non-advised drawdown products.

Experts have warned that customers entering drawdown without advice risk running out of money in falling markets.

Aviva head of financial research John Lawson says: “I expect people will make poor decisions, invest in the wrong things and run out of money early. Firms in the long term can help customers by having rule bases in place, like they do in the States.

“The crudest form would be a 4 per cent withdrawal rule. But there are more sophisticated models that allow you to withdraw as much as you like but, in certain circumstances, such as a 10 per cent market fall, your income would be reduced unless it was overridden.”

In March, Money Marketing revealed Aviva had scrapped plans for a phone-based guidance service following the FCA’s final guidance on simplified advice.

One of the aims of the Treasury’s Financial Advice Market Review is to “give firms the regulatory clarity and create the right environment for them to innovate and grow”. A consultation on the proposals closes in December.