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The freedom to make a mess

One year on from the government's overhaul of the pension industry, Binyamin Ali considers what the lasting legacy of the freedoms will be

12 May 2016

'The tax rules around pensions are a manifestation of a patronising view that pensioners can't be trusted with their own pension pots. I reject that.' So quipped George Osborne as he delivered his budget on 19 March 2014, bringing into effect the changes now widely referred to as the 'pension freedoms'.

Keen to reorder the British understanding of what a pension is and what it actually means to save into one, he told the House of Commons: 'We will legislate to remove all remaining tax restrictions on how pensioners have access to their pension pots. Let me be clear. No one will have to buy an annuity.'

One year has now passed since the Pension Schemes Act 2015 came into effect on 6 April 2015 - a day that was branded as a 'Y2K moment' for the pensions industry by the chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority, Martin Wheatley. Unlike Y2K however, this thing was real.

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