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For some years now, pensions have been made increasingly flexible, and the Government recently introduced greater choice as to how savers can use their pension pots on retirement.
The cornerstone of the much-vaunted 'liberation' of the private pension market is the self-invested personal pension (SIPP). SIPPs have given the pension holder a degree of freedom over their pension fund never seen before, and financial advisers have seized upon the liberation of pensions, and SIPPs in particular, as areas in which they can profitably provide advice. However, not all such advisers are truly expert, or even scrupulous.
The Pensions Ombudsman has reported that already more than 200 complaints have been received regarding advice on pension liberation and nearly half of all complaints to the Ombudsman relate to SIPPs.
By April 2017, all businesses are required to have set up a workplace pension scheme for their employees unless they obtain an 'opt-out' from all employees, which is likely to lead to yet further issues regarding the quality of advice.
If you are considering making any significant changes to your pension or any other financial arrangements, there may be implications in other areas – for example, the provisions in your current will may no longer be wholly appropriate.