In quarter four of 2019, 327,000 individuals made a total of 828,000 pension withdrawals, amounting to £2.23 billion overall, according to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
Analysis by HMRC found that this was an 18% increase from the £1.9 billion withdrawn in the same period of 2018, and a 24% increase in terms of the number of individuals making withdrawals, which stood at 264,000 in quarter four of 2018.
The average amount for withdrawal in quarter four of 2019 was £6,800, a decrease from £7,200 in quarter four of 2018; this has fallen by 39% from the average in April 2016 (£11,132), when reporting became compulsory.
Nathan Long, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “The swift introduction of flexible pension rules has taken a little time to bed down, but now nearly five years on we’re seeing payments falling to record lows. This implies people have settled into managing their money for the long term, with monthly withdrawals becoming more and more common.
“More flexible options do create confusion, so it’s important retirees are clear and comfortable on their approach. Finishing work for good can be a great time to seek out advice, even for those who’ve been comfortable in managing their money themselves beforehand. It’s also worth taking advantage of the free Pension Wise service which can give you guidance about your options.”