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Clerical planning non-stakeholder pension without heavy front load

Clerical Medical is lining up a non-stakeholder personal pension to sit alongside a Sandler stakeholder product which it plans to launch in April.

The stakeholder-buster will not have heavily frontend-loaded charges, which Clerical says contrasts with Norwich Union’s recent non-stakeholder launch, and is being billed as a Sandlerplus product.

Main differentiators will be flexibility and fund choice with, for example, the recently launched Clerical Medical fund of funds range only being available through the enhanced product.

The group is also looking to enhance the drawdown and protection elements of its contracts to protect itself from any mass outflows after A-Day.

Sales director Graeme Riddoch says Clerical will maintain existing commission rates on its stakeholder range although it “cannot do this for ever”.

Riddoch says Clerical has moved all its policies on to a single in-house HBOS Financial Services admin platform – a three-year operation backed by £120m investment – which will allow a wider fund range across its pension products.

He says it will also enable more efficient interaction between IFA arm Clerical Medical and bancassurance arm Halifax Life.

Riddoch says: “The Sandler-plus pension will effectively be a non-stakeholder personal pension and have more options but will not be differentiated from our Sandler stakeholder offering by heavy up-front charges like the NU proposition.”

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