The Association of British Insurers has put pressure on non-advised annuity brokers to agree a set of quality standards similar to its shopping around code of conduct after MP Frank Field raised concerns the market is “operating as a cartel”.
Last month, Money Marketing revealed Field, a former Labour welfare minister, had written to the Office of Fair Trading raising concerns the non-advised annuity brokerage market is not competitive.
In response to the article, Annuity Line head of business development Billy Burrows insisted the annuity brokerage market is competitive and called for the creation of a code of practice to ensure investors are “fully informed” about their retirement options.
ABI head of savings, retirement and social care Dr Yvonne Braun says: “Billy Burrows rightly points out that people need to consider all their annuity options but his call for a code of best practice has already been acted on by providers through the ABI’s retirement choices code.
“Annuity brokers signing up to similar standards would be a welcome move.
“The ABI code will improve customers’ confidence in making the right pensions choice through insurers providing clear and timely information to people approaching retirement understand what their options are, and the different ways they can take their pension, as well as encouraging them to shop around for the right pension deal.”
Annuity Direct chief executive Alan Higham says: “We need minimum standards for annuity brokers.
“There is inadequate regulation around non-advised sales and there are a lot of issues when buying an annuity which can be confusing.
“Minimum standards would help ensure customers are better protected.”