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ABI seeks consumer views on UK’s retirement needs

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The Association of British Insurers (ABI) is seeking the views of consumers as part of the first comprehensive review of the UK's retirement needs.

The review will cover people’s financial needs and concerns about retirement, how effectively the current state and retirement income products cater for retirement needs, and what changes are needed to ensure adequate retirement incomes.

Rising life expectancy means income is needed for longer. According to the ABI, the UK’s population is getting older – nearly 11 million people in the UK are aged over 65, with this figure expected to rise by nearly 50% to over 16 million in the next 20 years.

This brings increased pressure on the healthcare system and greater need to secure adequate income in retirement.

The UK’s chronic under saving culture means that many people face financial hardship in retirement, the ABI said.

People are also grappling with government pension reforms, with the implementation of auto enrolment and changes to state pension age.

The growing demand for long-term care and how it can be paid for is another issue. Of people aged 85 and over, 16% will need to go into a care home.

As well as seeking the views of consumers, the ABI will be inviting views and evidence from pension experts, think-tanks, consumer groups, health organisations, politicians and unions.

Announcing the review, ABI director general Otto Thoresen said: “How we pay for life after work is one of the key challenges facing our society, and the reason we have launched this wide-ranging review.

“Radical reform is needed to ensure people retiring today and future generations avoid a retirement of struggling to make ends meet.”

Reform has to be “holistic”, he said, with the pensions industry playing a key role.

“But we are part of a much bigger picture. This is why we are inviting views from far and wide, including consumer groups, charities, health support groups, pension experts, think-thanks, unions and politicians.

“Our focus will be on the needs of the retiree so we will be engaging with the public as well”.

Views are invited by 20 December. Following submissions, the ABI will hold a series of workshops early in 2014 with key stakeholders, including consumer groups, to discuss issues raised. A final report, including recommendations for reform, will be published in Spring 2014.

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