Savers access £10.8bn through pension freedoms

Retirement savers have accessed approximately £10.8 billion through the pension freedoms since the pension reforms were introduced in April 2015, according to data from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

Its Flexible payments from pensions: April 2017 report also found that the number of individuals who have received flexible payments from their pensions increased from 232,000 between the second quarter of 2015 and the first quarter of 2016 to 393,000 between the second quarter of 2016 and the first quarter of 2017.

Just under 1.4 million payments were made from pension pots between April 2016 and March 2017, compared to 516,000 payments between April 2015 and March 2016.

In January-March 2017, 381,000 payments were made by 176,000 individuals, totalling £1.59 billion. This compares to 393,000 payments in the fourth quarter of 2016, when 393,000 payments were made by 162,000 individuals, amounting to £1.56 billion.

The figures are based on data reported to HMRC. Reporting was optional up to April 2016, when it was made compulsory. For this reason, figures prior to this are not comprehensive.

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Tom McPhail, head of policy at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “After the initial bow-wave of demand in the two quarters of 2015, the retirement income market appears to have settled and stabilised remarkably quickly.

“We would like to see policymakers producing more detailed qualitative analysis now, digging into individual investors’ circumstances and decision-making to make sure they’re not going to be running out of money 15 years from now.”