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Editor’s comment of the week

Relating to this week’s online article: ABI’s Thoreson pledges to improve pension charges disclosure

As someone who spends their life doing charge comparisons between new and old investment plans, including pensions, I can endorse just how difficult it is to get the charging information from the legacy plan providers.

I have long since lost count of how many times have I been told either that there is “no charge” or “no explicit charge” on with-profits.

Unit-linked plans are little bette,r with at least half the charges missed out unless you repeatedly challenge and remind the provider to declare “all charges”.

UK life companies are by far the worst culprits and simply do not have a culture of being explicit about charges – a culture which extends all the way down to the juniors on the so called “help” desks.

Modern “platforms” are much clearer but also more expensive. Does everybody need to upgrade from old to new plans to get disclosure?

The format for annual statements, particularly pensions (which is closely regulated) is a disgrace and designed to obscure much more than it is to inform, particularly when it comes to charges.

Stanley Kirk

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