The bureau says the best level annuity rate fell slightly for women, with Norwich Union cutting its previously market leading rate of £6,760 per annum to £6,540 leaving Aegon Scottish Equitable at the top of the table with an unchanged £6,678.96. Meanwhile, leading rates for men have held their ground.
RPI-linked annuity rates have fallen slightly for both men and women, says the firm and Prudential remains top of the table despite cutting starting incomes for men from £3,997.32 per annum to £3,932.52 and for women from £3,662.16 to £3,592.80.
The best annuity rates for smokers also fell over the month, with Reliance Mutual cutting male rates from £8,205.36 to £7,935.48 and female rates from £7,840.08 per annum to £7,561.20. Reliance Mutual remain top, but as runner up LV= did not cut rates, the margin is narrowing according to the bureau.
Alexander Forbes director David Marlow says annuity rates have been holding up well, in relative terms, given the large cuts in the Bank of England base rate toward the end of 2008.
He says: “That rates are declining is no surprise and they may well continue to be in gradual decline during 2009, driven primarily by movements in corporate bond yields. It is not all bad news though, as the rates available are still higher than one year ago.”