Review pension investments this tax year, to avoid 'nasty surprises'

06 April 2009 / by Rebecca Sargent
As the turbulent stock market shaves value off pension pots and the new tax year begins, is urging pension holders to review their investments to make the most of them and avoid any 'nasty surprises'

Recent research from* found that 61 per cent of Brits have been investing into a pension pot of some description. And, as stock markets remain volatile as the new tax year begins, there has never been a more important time for investors to review their pension options.

"People often take out a pension plan and forget about it until a couple of years before retirement, says director at, James Caldwell, "but, like anything, people should be planning ahead or they could end up disappointed."

An annual pension review from an independent financial adviser (IFA) could be enough to prevent disappointment says's chartered financial planner, Sharon Bratley, "It is important that people keep on top of what they've got so that they aren't greeted with any nasty surprises and should any adjustment need to be made to investments, they can be made in good time."

And as the new tax year begins, now is the time to start to make the most of their Personal Pension allowance, which allows an investor to gain tax relief on as much as 100 per cent of their earnings.

Mrs Bratley added: "In particular, Self Invested Personal Pensions (SIPPs) offer significant flexibility as when it comes to investment choice, the world really is your oyster.

"With a SIPP you aren’t just tied in to a particular insurance company’s investment funds but can choose from unit trusts, investment trusts, commercial property, individual company shares, corporate bonds, cash deposits and gilts to name but a few.

"And, as it's no longer possible to utilise previous unused years’ pension allowances, it is important to start your planning early, to make the most of this year's allowance. This can be a complicated area for most people and so it is important to look at this in conjunction with an independent financial adviser, and for those with more complicated affairs, possibly even a tax adviser."

A regular pension review could even have helped investors to reduce risk before the credit crunch hit, she adds: "Reviewing your investments over the past couple of years could have meant reducing exposure to commercial property and banking shares and potentially taking advantage of some good fixed rate deals on deposits, both of which could have helped reduce potential losses."

The pension service can help to put people in touch with an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA) who can organise a pension review.


*Research conducted by OnePoll for, with 2,000 respondents