Research conducted by Norwich Union has revealed that a fear of finances is creating a pensions paralysis among the UK's over-40s. It found that a third of those in their 40s admit they have no financial plan for their retirement, and of those who do, the same number, say they have no idea what their final settlement will be.

According to the study, a lack of understanding and complicated products is the biggest barriers to pension planning for the over-40s. In fact, one in four over-40s without financial plans admit they’re choosing to simply stick their heads in the sand rather than wade through the options.

Iain Oliver, head of pensions at Norwich Union, said: People clearly want more flexibility and control from pension products but the SIPPs that do offer that are niche options designed primarily for high-net worth customers.