Hargreaves Lansdown to launch low-cost drawdown plan
Hargreaves Lansdown has revealed details of its new low-cost income drawdown plan which will launch when the new pension freedoms are introduced on April 6.
The plan features no set up costs or income withdrawal fees and hosts a range of financial planning tools to help DIY investors make the right decisions about how to invest their money. This is backed up by online and telephone support as well as full independent financial advice for those investors that need it.
As part of the discount broker's Vantage Platform, investors pay a fee based on the size of their holding. This is 0.45% a year for funds up to £250,000. On funds between £250,000 and £1m the rate drops to 0.25% while the rate drops to 0.1% for funds between £1m and £2m. No charge applies on the value of funds over £2m.
In addition to drawdown investors will also be able to take advantage of a tax calculator, a life expectancy calculator, a tax relief calculator and an annuity delay calculator. They will also have access to investment research, videos and downloadable guides. A fully underwritten annuity broking service is also available.
Take control and responsibility
Tom McPhail, Head of Pensions Research, Hargreaves Lansdown: "We have made this new drawdown accessible by stripping out any upfront charges and developing a suite of information and planning tools to help investors make the most of their retirement savings. This is what the government's pension freedom revolution is all about; giving investors the tools and information to take control of and responsibility for their own retirement income, as well as financial advice if they need it."
According to Hargreaves Lansdown, sales of annuities have halved since the 2014 Budget with between 200,000 and 400,000 investors waiting to take advantage when the new rules come into force at the start of the new tax year.
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An alternative to an annuity, income drawdown (also known as an unsecured pension) allows you to take income from your pension fund while the fund remains invested and so continues to benefit from any fund growth. The drawdown of income has to be calculated carefully as taking too much income could exhaust the pension fund so experts say the annual drawdown must not exceed what the assets would normally yield in an average year. The invested pension fund could also be hit by market turbulence and the value of the assets could fall.
In exchange for any lump sum – usually your pension fund – an annuity is “bought” from an insurance company and provides an income for life. When you die, the income stops. Annuity rates fluctuate daily and depend on your sex (although from 21 December 2012 insurers will no longer be able to use gender as a factor when calculating annuities), age, health and a number of other factors, so you have to pick the right one and, once bought, its terms cannot be altered, so seek financial advice.