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Equitable with-profit bonus increase has caveats, warns Hargreaves

Hargreaves Lansdown has welcomed Equitable Life’s decision to increase bonuses on with-profit pensions policies, but says this rise is not locked in therefore it could be taken away.

Pensions analyst Laith Khalaf says while the 5.5 per cent rise is good news, he warns that the increase is not locked in and can be taken away in the future.

He also says it fails to compare favourably with the returns made by other investments over 2009.

Khalaf adds: “Something is better than nothing, but policyholders could have achieved better returns in other funds.

“This is likely to continue to be the case because the investment strategy of the Equitable fund is so conservative. There is also the possibility that any cessation or indeed reversing of QE could have a negative impact on the price of gilts and consequently the value of the fund.”

When compared to other investments, Khalaf says pension investors could have seen a 17.29 per cent  return from the ABI cautious managed, 20.51 per cent from the ABI balanced managed  or 31.51 per cent from Schroder’s managed balanced fund.         

Equitable Life chief executive Chris Wiscarson says: “The society is determined to recreate value for policyholders and these increases in policy values are small but important steps along this road.”

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Comments

There are 2 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. In terms of security, With Profits bonuses, unless withdrawn as declared, have now become largely meaningless. Whatever bonuses have been added can always be handily eclipsed by the imposition of an MVR (other than at guaranteed MVR-free policy anniversaries).

    By and large, the only meaningful value of any non-fixed term investment is what you’ll get back if you cash it in today.

    Other than in extreme situations, With Profits used to be a safe haven against the ceaseless ebb and flow of investment markets. Used to be, but not any more.

  2. David Trenner - Intelligent Pensions 7th January 2010 at 5:10 pm

    Does anyone out there still sell with profits??

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