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Protected rights could lose out

It looks as if last December’s pre-Budget report may contain yet another change for the pension industry.

Industry experts believe moves to lift restrictions on protected rights outlined in a consultation paper from the Department for Work and Pensions in September last year may now be kicked into the long grass.

There is believed to be 75bn to 100bn worth of savings which could benefit from lifting the restrictions affecting investment of the rebate, protected rights being limited to certain types of pension scheme and annuities securing protected rights being offered on a unisex basis.

But the annuities review outlined in the PBR from the Treasury suggests worries about such an abolition. It says “if these restrictions (on protected rights) are removed, the member could purchase a single life annuity and potentially leave a survivor with no private pension”.

Clearly, the Government has a point in fearing that surviving spouses could be left without a pension. There are, on the other hand, legitimate arguments for lifting restrictions.

All we ask is that a full debate takes place quickly so pension providers and planners can get on with helping people save for retirement and make best use of savings they already put aside.

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