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FSA’s annuity listings are misleading, say life offices

Prudential has suggested that the FSA should scrap individual providers’ listings of annuity rates on its Money Made Clear website, arguing that the information is misleading.

Annuities business director Karin Brown says the FSA should simply provide coherent information as to where consumers can shop around effectively for the most appropriate product.

The FSA’s Money Made Clear website, which providers are required to refer customers to in their retirement wake-up packs, does not include postcode or enhanced annuities in its rate tables, although it does note the providers of these products on the side of the screen.

Brown believes that consumers are contacting the providers at the top of the tables, assuming that the FSA is searching the whole market. She also suggests that people are failing to consider different types of retirement products.

She says: “The FSA is not doing a good job at enabling consumers to shop around. People believe the site offers the whole package when it does not.”

Norwich Union head of annuity marketing Darren Dicks says: “The site is generally misleading. It is not clear that it does not scour the whole market for a quote, which is what consumers expect from the FSA.”

Brown says that instead of scrapping the table altogether, the regulator could provide an example of both an average rate and a competitive rate without listing specific companies. She says: “This would encourage consumers to use advisers and bureaus to look for retirement options.”

An FSA spokesman says: “This is a comprehensive and up-to-date tool for consumers. It provides a complete set of information to enable them to com- pare across the market in an impartial, non-selling environment. If individual providers have concerns, it would be worth them contacting us directly.”

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