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Give life offices more room to venture forth

The ABI has a shopping list it wants Chancellor Gordon Brown to deal with when he stands up to deliver his Budget.

We hope to see the Chancellor announce a wide-ranging review of post-retirement income which would cover everything from annuities and drawdown to all other forms of pensioners&#39 savings.

Everyone seems to agree there is a problem area and it is time the Government steps back and takes a look at it.

Like several other industry groups, the ABI wants the 0.5 per cent stamp duty on shares abolished and stamp duty on commercial property relaxed.

Brown must also tackle the regulations governing to what degree life offices can invest in venture capital. Much of this area may be dealt with, however, when Gartmore chief executive Paul Myners makes his report to the Treasury on institutional investment trends shortly before the Budget.

Simplification is needed in the rules regarding limited partnerships through which most venture capital operates. We think admin costs are too excessive on these schemes and at the least would hope the Chancellor will not increase them.

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