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&#39Transfer rules another nail in Equitable coffin&#39

The Inland Revenue has released final regulations on personal pension transfers, including changes which allow the transfer of income-drawdown policies for the first time.

The new rules will come into force on February 14, prompting some IFAs to predict the new drawdown transfer option will encourage a flood of drawdown policyholders deserting Equitable Life for other providers.

The Revenue is expected to release further details on the range of transfer regulations over the next few weeks.

Other significant changes include confirmation that authorised corporate directors of open-ended investment companies can be managers of non-trust-based stakeholder schemes.

The regulations confirm that stakeholder managers will be able to cherrypick by restricting membership of schemes on the grounds of employment with a particular employer or membership of a particular organisation.

Plans to force pension providers to accept payment into schemes by other methods except cheques, standing orders and direct debits have been withdrawn.

In addition, the new regulations do away with the proposed requirement for life offices to send out annual statements to all scheme members on the same day.

Torquil Clark pensions development manager Tom McPhail says: “It seems the new regulations will be another nail in the coffin of Equitable Life. With close to 4,000 policyholders already transferring out, the new rules could greatly increase the flow of money out of the life office in spite of the potential of a 10 per cent market value adjuster.”

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