Just Group said that there were still too few people using impartial pension guidance which could result in many being left vulnerable to scams and making poor choices.
Early access to pension cash has been described as “the new norm” by the Financial Conduct Authority. Its Financial Lives research revealed 55% of those accessing pension cash did so at the age of 55, on average at a significantly younger age than before Pension Freedoms were introduced.
According to Just Group, of the 650,000 pension pots accessed for the first time in 2018-19, 400,000 were accessed without regulated advice of which more than three in four were taken without a guidance appointment.
Stephen Lowe, group communications director at Just Group, said: “In the coming weeks we expect to see the results of trials undertaken by the Money and Pension Service to find ways to improve guidance take-up. Once the report is published the next step will be for FCA publish or consult on proposals but no timeline has been set for this.
“Optimistically, we are probably a year away from seeing the results of the trials turned into FCA rules.
“Meanwhile nearly a million people will slip through the system without the benefit of the free and impartial guidance offered by Pension Wise – which was the promise made by George Osborne, the architect of Pension Freedoms.
“The FCA now has a unique opportunity to ensure receiving free and impartial guidance becomes a new norm by setting an approach to ensure far more gain from the valuable guidance than miss out on it.
“We are at the peak of a wave of people being able to access pension savings, with this year particularly important due to the greater economic uncertainty created by Covid-19. Every day of delay sees thousands more people accessing pensions without the support they could benefit from.”