Four in 10 people investing in the new Lisa plan to stop or cut their pension contributions, a study has shown.
According to a survey by CoreData, 34 per cent of those planning to invest in the Lisa will cut the amount of money they put into their pension, while 7 per cent will stop saving into it altogether.
The findings will prompt growing concerns that the Lisa could be the next mis-selling scandal on the horizon – as predicted by Ros Altmann, former pensions minister, last September.
She warned the Lifetime Isa isn’t even close to being as beneficial as a pension post retirement freedoms.
Baroness Altmann said: “In my view Lifetime Isas risk poorer pensioners in the future and it is a disaster in the making.
“This product has mis-selling written all over it. Just think about it from a customer’s perspective. The Lifetime Isa isn’t a simple product. It needs somebody to understand the whole environment.”
Nearly half of the 267 people polled by Coredata between March and April 2017 who said they were planning to invest in the Lisa said they will not alter their pension contributions as a result of putting cash into the Lisa.
A pension is tax-free when you pay into it – so the taxman contributes an extra 25 per cent to the amount paid in by basic rate taxpayers – but money taken out after the age of 55 is taxable.
A Lisa is the exact reverse. You will have already paid tax on contributions into it, but money taken out will be tax-free.
The Lifetime Isa has been available since April for those aged 18 to 40, giving them a new option when it comes to saving for their first home or topping-up their pension savings.
With a Lisa, they will be able to save up to £4,000 a year and benefit from a government bonus of £1 on top of every £4 saved.
The bonus takes it up to £5,000 a year.
But there is a sting in the tail as you need to use the proceeds to buy your first home or take your savings after age 60 to keep your bonus otherwise there is a 5 per cent exit penalty and charges, as well as a loss of growth on the added bonuses.
Craig Phillips, head of international at CoreData Research, said the findings of his survey add weight to the view that the Lisa could accelerate a shift in the retirement landscape away from pensions and toward Isas.
Just over half of those investing in the Lisa, which can only be opened up to the age of 40, said that they were using the product to save for retirement, while 41 per cent said they were using it to fund a house purchase.
Two out of five said they are using it for general savings, although the money in it cannot be accessed until the age of 55.
However, a large proportion of those who are eligible to invest in the Lisa, which offers generous government contributions to top up savings, say that they do not know enough about the product to make a decision about whether to invest.
Adviser Peter Matthew, from Jacksons Wealth Management in Penzance, said that savers faced a tricky decision with the Lisa.
He said: “We know that too much choice can lead to inertia.
“There is no doubt the Lisa is a good idea for basic rate taxpayers and those wanting to buy their first home – or if you have already used your annual pension contribution allowance to the maximum.”
However, he added that higher-rate taxpayers would do better to continue contributions into a pension.
Back in March robo-adviser Scalable Capital revealed it would not offer the Lifetime Isa because of concerns the product is too complex to be sold without advice.
Adam French, co-founder and chief executive of Scalable Capital, said: “It (Lisa) is a complex product that should be sold with clear suitability guidelines and structured financial advice.