CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Surrey Life today CLICK HERE

Pensions and you - a brief overview

PUBLISHED: 17:04 25 April 2016 | UPDATED: 17:20 25 April 2016

Pensions and you - a brief overview

Pensions and you - a brief overview


The various options for pension provision and accessing pension savings is now vast - we spoke to Penningtons to find out more

Maria RiccioMaria Riccio

Pension providers, trustees and employers often take it for granted that people have a clear understanding of their pension arrangements. But we have found that, although many well run schemes try to simplify what is a very complicated area affecting your future, much of their communication is not of an acceptable standard. Individuals must be given enough information to make informed decisions and the Pensions Regulator has made this a high priority.

The various options for pension provision and accessing pension savings is now vast, particularly since the introduction of defined contribution freedoms in April 2015. Contrary to some of the publicity, not everyone will be able to access their money for a loft extension, new sports car or the holiday of a lifetime. It depends on the type of arrangement you are in and the rules and provisions that apply to it. As ever, it is all in the small print. Making the process easier is still a work in progress.

Sources of advice

If you are giving serious thought to accessing your defined contribution pension savings, take a look at the Government’s free and impartial government service, Pension Wise, at You can also seek face to face advice at your local Citizens Advice Bureau or call the Pensions Advisory Service helpline on 0300 123 1047.

Verity CruseVerity Cruse

Remember that, if you are a member of a defined benefit scheme, you cannot take advantage of the freedoms unless the scheme will allow a transfer to a defined contribution scheme. Strict requirements will apply.

Workplace pensions

Alongside freedoms, all employers by law must now provide a workplace pension scheme and automatically enrol certain employees (depending on their age and earnings). Other employees can ask to join and may benefit from an employer contribution. A scheme only needs to be introduced when an employer reaches its prescribed staging date, which is set by employee numbers. This means that, if you work for a small employer, you may still be in the queue.

Although workplace pensions are generally seen as a good thing and the statistics show that most employees choose to stay in schemes upon their automatic enrolment, they are not suitable for everyone. High earners who have elected for tax protection of their pension savings are just one example. If you are in that position, you need to take appropriate advice. Some people are also excluded from the requirements, including anyone who is genuinely self-employed.

Over the last few months, statistics have shown that the self-employed are possibly the greatest risk to the state because very few contribute towards a pension and those that do have reduced their contributions significantly over the last 10 years.

Brexit concerns

Although the Government did not play around with pension tax in the recent Budget, there is a possible Brexit on the horizon and there is some concern - particularly around investment. Commentators speculate that, as the referendum approaches, there will be sharp spikes in volatilities across many asset classes typically held in pension funds. It has been suggested that gilt yields, interest rates, equity values, corporate bonds and foreign exchange would all be affected. So this could also affect you, particularly if you are expecting to draw benefits this year.

For legal advice on all types of pension schemes, arrangements and obligations, please contact Maria Riccio or Verity Cruse in the Guildford office of Penningtons Manches on 01483 791 800 or visit our website at

More from Surrey Life

Yesterday, 10:53

From Santa’s Grottos, to Victorian Christmas markets and late-night shopping, we’ve covered what’s on in Surrey this season

Read more
Yesterday, 10:47

Whether you're looking for fine dining, pub grub or exotic dishes, eating out in Surrey has something for everyone. Here's our guide to the best local restaurants and pubs

Read more
Yesterday, 10:41

Having bloomed in Brighton’s restaurant scene over the past decade, The Chilli Pickle opened its second site in Guildford this summer

Read more
Mon, 14:32

Historic Royal Palaces and IMG have announced that Kylie Minogue is the first headliner confirmed for Hampton Court Palace Festival 2019. These will be her only London shows of summer 2019. Here’s how you can get tickets

Read more
Mon, 12:56

Enjoy this linear rail to ramble section of the Thames Down Link route taking the short train-ride from Box Hill & Westhumble to Ashtead before walking back

Read more
Mon, 12:13

Great things to do in Surrey this weekend (16, 17 and 18 November): art exhibitions, walks, concerts, theatre, places to visit and other events and ideas.

Read more
Friday, November 9, 2018

We round up 10 of the most beautiful photos of Surrey shared on Instagram this week…

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

It’s that time of year when our beautiful countryside is alight with the colours of autumn. Here, we pick out some of her favourite spots to enjoy the seasonal splendour – as well as some perfect places for a post-walk refresher

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Found on the stretch of the River Thames between Weybridge and East Molesey, Sunbury-on-Thames is blessed with a village feel where it meets the water. From antique hunts to the joys of river life, here are a few of our favourite reasons to visit

Read more
Monday, November 5, 2018

Verity & Violet are Loui and Jess – a singing duo from Surrey who specialise in blending vintage classics with modern favourites. The two have achieved success in the capital, but are now hoping to attract an audience closer to home

Read more
Friday, November 2, 2018

With the Christmas celebrations seemingly starting earlier every year, it all feels a little too ‘soon’ sometimes, but what if you want to look your best for Christmas & New year celebrations and are considering having cosmetic non-surgical procedures? The Bella Vou Pantiles Clinic offers surgical and non-surgical cosmetic procedures and treatments from a purpose-built private clinic in the heart of Royal Tunbridge Wells

Read more
Thursday, November 1, 2018

Living in England’s most densely wooded county, it’s always a pleasure to witness Surrey donning its autumn finery. Here’s some of the best places to do just that - plus a few pub pit stops to enjoy on route!

Read more
Wednesday, October 31, 2018

We are regularly reminded of the high cost of housing with statistics revealing that only one in three millennials will be able to afford their own home during their lifetime and that most will remain in the category known as Generation Rent

Read more
Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Year 5 pupils at Reigate St Mary’s School (RSM) who designed and carried out a community project as part of a UK wide Make a Difference Challenge, have won the London area competition for their stunning scrapbook record of their project

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Follow us on Twitter

Like us on Facebook

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search