Retirement income market data 2019/20

This page provides analysis of the latest data from firms on the retirement income market. 

We have collected data on the retirement income market since April 2015. The data enables us to monitor developments in the market, for example, to gain insights into what action consumers take the first time they access a pension pot. This update provides the latest data covering the year from April 2019 to March 2020. Some of the previously published data for the year April 2018 to March 2019 has been restated in this update due to firm resubmissions.

Previously published data for periods up to March 2018 is also included in separate tables. The data for these periods was drawn from a representative sample of firms. We started collecting data from all regulated firms that provide retirement income products from 1 April 2018. Given the change in the reporting population, we advise users to be careful if comparing this to data for periods from April 2018 onwards. Find out more about the source of the data.

As the data covers a period until the end of March 2020, it is unlikely to be significantly affected by the impact of coronavirus (Covid-19).

What’s included in the data

  • Numbers and types of pension plans accessed for the first time.
  • Number of plans where the plan holder made a regular or ad hoc partial withdrawal.
  • Use of advice when purchasing retirement products.
  • Types of annuity options sold.
  • Sources of business for retirement product providers.
  • Number of defined benefit (DB) to defined contribution (DC) pension transfers received.
  • Total value withdrawn by Pension Commencement Lump Sum (PCLS) and by all fully encashed plans.

Key findings

  • Total number of pension plans accessed for the first time in 2019/20 increased by 3% to 674,000 compared to 2018/19 (652,000).

Table 1: Number of pension plans accessed for the first time by method of access

Method of access

Oct 2019 - Mar 2020

Apr - Sept 2019

Oct 2018 - Mar 2019

Apr - Sept 2018

Plans used to buy an annuity





Plans entering income drawdown and not fully withdrawn





Plans with first uncrystallised fund pension lump sum (UFPLS) payment and not fully withdrawn





Plans fully withdrawn*





Total plans accessed for the first time





Source: FCA retirement income data

*By plan holders accessing their plans for the first time via small pot lump sum, drawdown or UFPLS.

  • Annuity purchases continue to decline - down 6% to 69,500 in 2019/20. 
  • Plans fully withdrawn at first time of access in 2019/20 increased by 5% to 375,500. 9 out of 10 of these were for pot sizes less than £30,000. The total number of plans fully withdrawn in 2019/20 remained steady at around 440,000 for the year with a value withdrawn of just under £5.7 billion.

Chart tips: hover over data series to view the data values and filter the data categories by clicking on the legend.


Data table


  • 42% of regular withdrawals were withdrawn at an annual rate of 8% or more of the pot value (40% in 2018/19).


Data table


  • 36% of plans accessed for the first time in 2019/20 were accessed by plan holders who took regulated advice (no change from 2018/19).
  • The number of defined DB to DC transfers received by pension providers covered by our data in 2019/20 were down by 28% to 40,600.

Full data tables

Our downloadable Excel tables contain the data for the latest and previous periods.


The data on this page is available under the terms of the Open Government Licence.