UK – The take-up of private pensions in the UK has gone up by almost 250% since the government launched the stakeholder pension scheme initiative in April, according to Virgin Direct.

Virgin claims that industry figures based on research undertaken by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) show that 535,000 new individual pensions schemes were taken out in the three months following the launch, representing a rise of 247% compared to the same period a year ago.

However, at 203,000 or 38%, actual stakeholder pensions accounted for less than half the new schemes.
Virgin nonetheless view the figures as highly encouraging: “Six month’s on from launch and stakeholder has given a huge boost to the UK’s pension savings market, dragging it up by its bootlaces,” comments Virgin’s Andrew Stonach.

He adds that stakeholder influence has also led to traditional pension providers reducing their charges for personal pensions.

Virgin says that research into its own business reveals that pension sales have more than doubled over the past six months compared to the same period a year ago and that younger generations are being won over.
A third of the firm’s stakeholder sales were to people in their twenties, with people in their thirties accounting for another 28%. A further 15% was taken out for children.
Of these figures, women made up almost half the sales (48%), with almost 15% of sales being completed over the internet.