Over 55s could face large pension exit fees come April

You may be able to cash in your pension from 55 next year - but how much will you pay in fees?

Updated: 

Office for Tax Simplification announcement

While George Osborne drew plenty of praise - and also fire - for overhauling the UK's pension landscape in the spring, there's new concern on pension pot charges. Specifically for the over 55s who want to cash them early in the near future. Some charges could be more than 20% of their total investment.

Why aren't all UK pension pots being treated equally?

Fees for early doors

Some of the problem is about legacy systems rooted in the dark ages, claim some assurance players. Older pension contracts were not established before widespread computerisation.

But it's an argument what will seem lame to some, especially given the high fees involved in many older pensions.

Legal & General admitted that updating policies could see exit fees. "Ours will be able to if they switch to a modern policy, but unfortunately this may involve exit charges," an L&G spokesperson told the Telegraph.

Clearly there will be a fee - called a market value adjustment - in some circumstances Cambridgeshire IFA Tony Larkins from Beacon Wealth Management told AOL Money.

Fundamentally, companies are going to be losing their annuities and profits - and need to recoup profits in other ways.

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Barriers to leave

"If a plan," Larkins says, "has been set up with rules, such as the 4% penalty per annum, if that's the plan rules, that's it. I don't see why the government should be allowed to change it."

"If you're in a final salary and want to retire early," he continues, "you would get penalised. I don't see any difference. If a penalty is thousands of pounds, that would infer a large pension fund. Then they're unlikely to cash it in immediately any way."

They're more likely going to do drawdown, as it's more tax efficient, and spread their withdrawals over a number of years he adds.

The more cynical view is that the Exchequer has bought this in to get their tax up front, "instead of waiting 20 years, or sometimes never getting tax on it, if it's for a lower paid worker," Larkins adds.

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