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Doubled over by Brown and Turner

A year of feverish activity in pensions ended with a bang with Lord Turner and Chancellor Gordon Brown serving up a double helping that was definitely not to the taste of the industry.

Brown dropped his Sipp bombshell just four months before A-Day. Stripping away the tax advantages on residential property in Sipps has left many insurers lamenting the waste of money spent on systems and marketing.

One of the prime Sipp players, Standard Life, was filling the City pages rather than the personal finance sections after confirming its demutualisation vote will go ahead in the summer of 2006.

The Pensions Commissions report ruled out advice from the proposed National Pension Savings Scheme, leaving insurers and advisers fighting back, challenging Turners Swedish-styled 0.3. per cent annual management charge.

Leading up to A-Day, the need to protect tax-free cash has seen all manner of spats between the great and the good over when to and not to use a section 32 while NU and L&G avoided the fray by closing theirs early.

Zurich faced another pension probe over selling higher-charge policies when stakeholder could have been more suitable and the popularity of the latter, despite various commission wars between the likes of NU and Clerical, failed to improve.

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