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Pension fund choice ignored by 48% of UK workers

24 September 2009 / by Rebecca Sargent

Millions of UK workers are failing to make the most of their pension pot as 48 per cent confess to never having reviewed their pension plans.

Research by Baring Asset Management also revealed that of those who have reviewed their pension plan, 37 per cent have no idea where their pension is invested.

Meanwhile, a further 36 per cent of those who have reviewed their pension plan said that they have opted for the 'default option' as opposed to actively choosing the funds to invest in.

Commenting on the findings, Barings' chief investment officer, Marino Valensise, commented: "Many people give very little thought to their pension despite the huge importance it has in deciding our quality of life in later years.

"A pension pot is often your second largest investment after a home, yet in many cases not a moment's thought is given to where the money is invested."

The study also found that despite growing concerns over a pending pensions crisis, only 12 per cent of UK workers who have reviewed their pension plans took advice from an independent financial adviser.

Marino Valensise adds: "It's like buying an expensive car without taking any advice on the make or model."

Overall just 15 per cent of people who have reviewed their pension have selected the funds it invests in themselves, while 14 per cent would seek advice from a friend or family member.

Mr Valensise comments: "Consumer behaviour will only change if the industry changes too and that means improving the way in which pension advice is given.

"Advisers need to help people view their pension as part of a wider retirement savings plan and think more clearly about the levels of risk and return.

"Pension holders should get into the habit of reviewing their schemes on an annual basis and I would urge them to seek independent financial advice."

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