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Money Advice Service annuity tool excludes major providers

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The Money Advice Service enhanced annuity comparison tool is failing to produce quotes from two of the UK’s largest providers.

The MAS annuity comparison tool allows users to input lifestyle and medical conditions in order to obtain tailored quotes from a range of pension providers.

However, when Money Marketing tested the tool for a 65 year old male with a £100,000 pension pot who smokes 30 cigarettes a day, it did not provide rates from Just Retirement and Partnership, two of the largest enhanced annuity specialists in the UK who often offer some of the highest rates. 

The MAS tool only quoted annuity rates from Aviva, Canada Life, Hodge Lifetime, Legal & General, LV=, Prudential and Saga.

According to Annuity Direct, a 65 year old man with a £100,000 pot who smokes 20 cigarettes a day and has high cholesterol and high blood pressure could miss out on £400 per year in retirement income if they use the tool to shop around for providers.

This is because Partnership, one of the providers which is not quoted by the MAS tool, would offer the best rate in the market for this individual.

A MAS spokeswoman says the problem originates from the wholesale provider it uses to collect annuity rates from across the market. It is unclear when the fault will be fixed or when the problem started. 

Following Money Marketing’s exposure of the flaws this morning, the MAS says it will now add a message to the front of its annuity tables highlighting that they represent information from a panel of providers and do not cover the entire market. 

The MAS spokeswoman would not confirm the identity of the wholesale provider it uses for the service.  

MAS chief executive Caroline Rookes says: “Our in-depth annuity guides reiterate as strongly as possible that because choosing an annuity is a decision that will determine your income for the rest of your life, you should get help from a financial adviser or specialist annuity broker, unless you are confident to do make your decision alone. 

“When our annuity table generates quotes for the customer we also let them know our tables represent information from ‘panel of providers’ which do not cover the entire annuities market. To clarify this point even further we are now adding this message to the front page of the annuity table itself.”

“The process of collecting comparative data for financial services products is complex, and the data we serve to customers is collected for us by a third-party – a wholesale data provider.  This is the case for most online comparison tables in the market. The annuity quotes we serve customers are created-on demand, using data pulled from the wholesaler’s information, the results are ‘bespoke’ for each customer who uses our tables.

”We want our annuity comparison tables to be as comprehensive as possible, but we are aware that data from two annuity providers is not provided to us from the wholesaler. We are working to try and include the extra information, and hope to offer at data from least one of the two providers very soon.”

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Comments

There are 21 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. So ‘Ma’ doesn’t say the ‘Wholesale Provider’ says – money well spent again!!!

  2. who’s to blame?
    Not me mate!!!
    I just collect the money for old rope!!!!!

  3. Oh dear. So whilst trying to help they have a tool which could well mislead people into buying a worse product. Could this be misspelling-no because they don’t give advice. This is great news for IFAs because we do look at all of the market. Its not good for MAS as this service is now dangerous. what are we paying for?

  4. This should be shut down immediately,annuities are a “hot potato” at the present time and applicants could subsequently be claiming redress from MAS over this and we know who will have to pay for this don`t we?

  5. All you ambulance chasers who double up as lawyers get your pens out for a field day!!!!

  6. It looks like the MAS uses Hodge Lifetime Ltd (http://www.hodgelifetime.com/) to do their annuity quotes.

  7. A very ironic misspelling of misselling as misspelling there, Tim. Although, I misread Anonymous’s comment and almost got arrested for indecent exposure.

  8. Why did they not admit to this instead of being found out by Money Marketing. How long has this been going on? How many people have been misled? Can they identify them?Who decided they would just keep quiet about this and hope they weren’t found out?
    Why do I think it will just get brushed under the carpet?

  9. In response to a recent MM Article asking whether the MAS was really that bad, I posted these extracts from the terms and conditions the MAS apply to anyone using their site:

    These are extracts from what you would currently find there:

    “Whilst we try to ensure the information contained on the website is accurate and up to date, we cannot be responsible for any inaccuracies in the information. We are under no responsibility to provide you with access to any additional information or to update this website, even if inaccuracies become apparent.”

    “We are not liable for any damages (including, for example, damages for loss of business or loss of profits) arising in contract, tort or otherwise from the use of or inability to use: the Money Advice Service website, associated publications, the advice given by our advisers via the Money Advice Line, face-to-face and/or web-chat sessions or any material contained in them, or from any action or decision taken as a result of using this website, associated publications, the Money Advice Line, face-to-face or web-chat sessions.”

    “By using or accessing any part of this website you will be deemed to have accepted these terms in full. If you do not accept these terms and conditions please do not continue to use this website.”

    ‘Nuff said!

  10. Does the confounded thing include term annuities? Two clients this week where term annuities are quite appealing i.e. want to retire early but state pension does not kick in for a few years…
    Professional advice is the only advice.

  11. I do wish that our anonymous contributors would man up and give their name.
    This article actually made me laugh. Absolutely remarkable that their annuity comparison tool doesn’t have full market coverage is unbelievable. Who exactly is this wholesaler? As much as I dislike the chap perhaps Martin Lewis could “consult” with MAS about how to run a comparison site.

  12. @ Mike Fenwick 12:30

    Thanks for posting this. It just shows what a waste of space the MAS has become. I had (false) high hopes for it and have been part of the minority saying to give it a chance, but this type of complete lack of ownership, accountability or care just shows it up as being an utter farce.

  13. Oh dear! What would Ma say?

    Given the omission of two of the largest specialist firms in this field, I think she would say something like it is as useful as a chocolate teapot!

  14. @Matt
    What possible difference would that make in terms of the anon posts under this article?
    If you feel so strongly why not give your full name plus FCA number?
    We are hardly going to identify you now are we Matt?

  15. Incompetent regulators 23rd August 2013 at 1:26 pm

    IFAs should also be able to have these terms and conditions on their web site as a disclaimer. Then we don’t need the FCA!

  16. Any chance that Ma will be fined? Or forced to compensate those suckers who have been ripped off for the rest of their lives?

    No. Of course not.

  17. What was Frank Field saying this week about people getting poor value with OPM’s especially with a government quango not quoting the best impaired providers.
    You coud not make it up

  18. While it appears to be an embarrassment on behalf on MAS, accusations of mis-selling are ridiculous, as MAS do not actually sell anything.

    They give the reader an understanding that when faced with the prospect of buying an annuity, there are differences in the market. When it comes to actually buying the annuity, they also point out that the reader should seek independent financial advice.

    It is a useful signposting tool for many people who are simply looking for information and where they can go to get advice or buy products or services.

    MAS do the IFA market a service by highlighting the need for many of their readers to use them.

  19. Is it the case that if advisers add similar disclaimers to their websites and even their paperwork they will be able to claim they are not responsible? I very much doubt it!!! Surely MAS should be reported to the FCA?

  20. Dont they say they give unbiased independent advice?

    Why dont they have to tell anyone theyre biased and restricted.

    What would the FOS say?

  21. Anon @ 4.36
    “MAS do the IFA market a service by highlighting the need for many of their readers to use them”

    Have you ever had a referral from MAS?

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