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Aifa’s Chris Cummings gets behind Living Time’s OMO campaign

Aifa director general Chris Cummings and the heads of a number of large IFA firms have signed up to Living Time’s offer more options campaign.

Last week, the firm sent personalised video messages to the UK’s largest 200 adviser businesses calling for them to help promote greater innovation and consumer choice in the £14bn retirement income market.

Cummings says: “The decumulation phase is growing in importance and advisers have a central role helping retirees understand the many issues they face, the suitability of the solutions on offer and the consequences of each course of action.

“There is no doubt that an unfortunate decision at retirement has the potential to rob people of the financial benefits they have worked so hard to build. By far the best consumer protection is a dynamic and innovative market that offers a range of income options, coupled with professional advice to help retirees select the most appropriate plan for their own individual circumstances.”

Managing director of the Annuity Portal Malcolm Thomas says the industry needs to focus harder on getting its message understood and reducing bureaucracy.

He says: “It is a huge frustration knowing that there are literally hundreds of thousands of retirees each year who we could help get a better deal but that many remain oblivious to the choices available. We strongly support this campaign because we believe it can galvanise the entire industry to work towards delivering a better outcome to consumers of our products and services.”

Chartwell Group chief executive Jim Grant says: “We must act together as an industry to help more consumers understand the crucial choices that need to be made at retirement, especially given the wider range of solutions that we now have access to.”

Paradigm Partners senior partner Paul Hogarth also lent his support to the campaign.

Living Time managing director of sales and marketing Dave Harris says advisers are hamstrung by the current rules that effectively funnel people reaching retirement into conventional lifetime annuities.

He says: “Advisers are now waking up to the opportunities being lost and the requirement to treat customers fairly by exploring the full range of retirement income alternatives. For the sake of their clients and their own long-term revenue streams, we are encouraging them to get behind the campaign and fight for change.”

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