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Individual pension sales up but IFAs lose market share

Individual pension sales leapt by 22 per cent during the first quarter of this year compared with the same period in 2001 but IFAs&#39 market share has tumbled, according to the ABI.

Individual pension sales rose to £885m from £722m on an equivalent premium income basis but IFAs&#39 share of the market fell to to 76 per cent from 80 per cent, with an increase in direct sales.

Group business premiums, including pensions and protection policies such as critical-illness cover and keyperson insurance, jumped by 13 per cent to £454m in the first quarter compared with £403m last year. Again, IFAs&#39 share of the market was down to 71 per cent from 85 per cent.

The only area where IFA share was up was annuities and drawdown, which the ABI says could be attributed to Equitable Life&#39s closure to new business at the end of last year. The ABI says a 38 per cent increase in new defined-contribution sch-emes is down to stakeholder.

Director general Mary Francis says: “The continued increase in the sale of pensions is encouraging, particularly as we are also seeing a significant year-on-year increase in the total value of contributions made. This increase, however, needs to be seen in the context of Britain&#39s widening savings gap.”

Holden Meehan director Amanda Davidson says: “We have seen many final-salary schemes close, which would account for the increase in group premiums. It is encouraging that individuals are putting money into pensions although some of this will be spouses and children of the wealthy.”


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