The Government says it will not look to extend the requirement for gender neutrality to occupational defined-contribution annuity business, despite concerns about the creation of a two tier annuity market.
However, a Government response to the European Court of Justice gender ruling, published today, says the matter will be kept under review and action would be taken if consumer detriment was shown.
A European Commission document, published in December last year, suggested the ban on gender pricing in insurance contracts would not be extended to occupational schemes.
This led to calls from pension experts for the Government to clarify whether occupational schemes would be covered amid fears of the creation of a “secondary” annuity market targeting occupational DC schemes. These included calls to extend the Equality Act to cover work-based schemes as well as personal pensions.
The Government response says: “We acknowledge the concerns of those who believe that the judgment will result in a two tiered annuity market and that such a market will be detrimental to consumers and industry.
“On this issue, whilst we remain concerned about negative impacts of the judgment we do not feel there is sufficient evidence at this stage to justify extension of the requirement to provide gender-neutral pricing of annuities to work-based pension arrangements as well as personal pensions.”
The document goes on to say that if there is evidence of consumer detriment then the Government would consider any further action.