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AIG weighing in to bulk annuity sector

AIG is entering the UK bulk annuity market to challenge the dominance of Prudential and Legal & General.

The US firm, which is rumoured to be interested in making a bid for Pru, says it will also be looking at other pension opportunities in the UK. It is moving into the market with Higham Group and Pensions Management Limited and has already started quoting.

Higham will provide support as a technical specialist in scheme wind-ups and actuarial consulting. PML will work on the long-term administration of AIG Life’s immediate and deferred bulk annuities.

There has been considerable interest recently in the bulk annuity and UK corporate buyout sectors.

Paternoster has 500m of financing for its buyout vehicle and is looking at small to medium-size pension schemes but has yet to receive FSA approval to start operations. Synesis Life, which was set up by Isabel Hudson, also has capital backing and has applied for an FSA licence.

Aegon UK chief executive Otto Thoresen says the company also plans to enter the market in the final quarter of this year, initially targeting deals in the tens of millions of pounds range.

AIG pensions director Nigel Burton says: “AIG has a wealth of experience in bulk annuity provision in a number of markets worldwide. We have already started quoting on a gentle scale and are looking to increase this in the coming months. We are also looking at interesting opportunities in the UK pension market.”

He says: “We recognise trustees and members are looking at security and at the quality of the underlying operations as well as a competitive price.”

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