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IFAs find flaws in Tory MP&#39s Bill bidding to reform annuity law

Conservative MP David Curry this week published details of his Private Member&#39s Bill calling for Government annuity reform which he will present to the House of Commons in January.

However, IFAs have questioned the timing of the Bill, claiming it is pointless to fight a campaign for change from the backbenches, especially after the Government has already announced it is releasing a consultation paper on annuities, which is expected in January.

The Pensions Annuities (Amendment) Bill is similar in its proposals to Dr Oonagh McDonald&#39s Retirement Income Reform Campaign.

Under the plan, people would be forced to secure a minimum income annuity at a set level at age 65. They would then be given greater freedom to invest the remainder of their pension pot. Differences in annuity rates between males and females would be equalised.

Curry says: “My Bill aims to make a real difference by introducing affordable reform which will benefit middle-income pensioners. This Bill is about providing current and future pensioners with choice and flexibility while still ensuring a guaranteed income for life.”

The Annuity Bureau director Ronnie Lymburn says: “There are a few holes in these proposals. It looks to me like it is restricting choice. Chances of success – not a lot really but it will raise awareness.”

Britannic Retirement Solutions corporate development director Bob Bullivant says: “I cannot see why he is going forward with the Bill. I think the Government has got this right in looking at the ramifications of reform.”

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Following a cabinet reshuffle in light of last week’s general election, David Cameron has announced that Ros Altmann will be replacing Steve Webb as pensions minister. As the industry works with one of the largest reforms to the sector in almost a century, the former adviser to Tony Blair has been tasked with ensuring that the pensions revolution does not stray off track.

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