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Investors shun pensions for ‘flexibility’ of ISAs

Paloma Kubiak
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Paloma Kubiak

One in five investors has shunned pensions completely in favour of stocks and shares ISAs since the introduction of freedom rules last year.

Pension freedom rules, introduced in April 2015, gave anyone over the age of 55 total access to their pension pot and removed the requirement to purchase an annuity.

Since April, fund supermarket The Share Centre has seen a 9.2% year-on-year increase in ISA inflows.

The firm said that of the 1,500 people surveyed, 19% of investors have shunned pensions completely in favour of stocks and shares ISAs.

And 18% planned to withdraw their entire nest egg to drip-feed it into an ISA once they turn 55.

This is an increase of 6% on last year and indicates that consumers are looking for increased flexibility and access to long-term savings.

Richard Stone, chief executive of The Share Centre, said: “Pension changes and tax overhauls can seem incredibly daunting, but people clearly favour the flexibility an ISA can offer. But with auto-enrolment now being made mandatory across the UK, there is less need for personal pensions as a savings vehicle.

“Whatever happens, what’s more important than anything is ensuring that the incentive to save for the long-term is protected, and people don’t shy away from it. This is particularly true when it comes to investing: people can be scared off altogether.

“However, adopting a ‘little and often’ approach is a very achievable strategy, and drip-feeding into an investment can help reduce exposure to volatility whilst also benefiting from the returns.”

Stone added that the stock market has returned over 600% since 1990, compared to just 68% by cash, a figure, he said, is hard to ignore.