Pensions and retirement income options

Pensions are a traditional way of saving and investing money for your retirement. Find out more about your options, and how to protect your pension pot from fraudsters and risky schemes.

We regulate firms and individuals that promote, arrange or provide stakeholder pension and personal pension schemes. These are pension schemes anyone can join, regardless of any arrangements their employer may offer.

If you’re employed, you may automatically be enrolled on your workplace’s defined contribution pension scheme, or have a defined benefit pension with your employer. Alternatively, you may have a personal defined contribution pension.

We do not regulate state or employer pensions. The Pensions Regulator is the UK regulator of work-based pension schemes, giving guidance to trustees, employers, pension specialists and business advisers on what is expected of them.

Your pension options

When it comes to retirement, there are a number of different pension products and options available to you, so it is important that you shop around to find the pension that best suits your needs.

Members of defined contribution arrangements have a number of options available when accessing their pension savings. Consumers aged 55 and over can:

  • take their pension savings as cash (in one lump sum or in smaller amounts over time
  • buy an annuity (or other income-generating guaranteed products)
  • use a drawdown pension without any limits applied
  • use any combination of these

Because there are a number of options available to you, it is important you take the time to make a careful decision. From 6 April 2015, the flexible pension regime only applies to members of defined contribution arrangements. Members of defined benefit pension schemes will need to transfer their benefits to defined contribution arrangements before they can have early and more flexible access to their pension savings.

Government legislation requires that individual scheme members take advice from an adviser authorised by the FCA before a transfer is allowed to proceed where the benefits are valued at £30,000 or over. The legislation refers to transfers of ‘safeguarded benefits’, which are normally benefits in defined benefit schemes, but may also be benefits such as guarantees or other promises in other types of scheme.

MoneyHelper has information on how to complain. If you are not happy with their response, you can complain to the Parliamentary and Health Ombudsman.

Protect your pension

We are aware that fraudsters are targeting pension pots. Find out more about:

  • Free pension reviews, which are designed to persuade you to move money from your existing pension into high risk or fraudulent schemes
  • Early pension release, where you are offered help to release cash from your pension before the age of 55.


Updated: 13/08/2021


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