The FSA’s thematic review of annuities contained few shocks as it laid out the regulator’s concerns about a dysfunctional retirement market (you can read all our coverage here).
Revelations that most people who buy an annuity with their existing provider could have got a better deal if they shopped around or that annuity comparison websites can offer misleading information would have come as little surprise to anyone with a passing knowledge of the sector.
The regulator will now investigate insurers’ sales and retention practices as part of a 12-month competition review, including examining current incentives against shopping around and favouring standard over enhanced annuities.
Given the huge amount of publicity in the media about poor annuity deals, the review received a cool response in some quarters.
Concerns the regulator may not be moving quickly enough were nicely summed up in this blog by former Aegon head of pensions development Rachel Vahey. The big worry is that the longer it takes the FCA to introduce new rules the more people will end up with poorer retirement incomes.
But after years of policymakers failing to get to grips with problems in the annuity market, the FCA wants to make sure it takes its time to get these reforms right.
In a recent Money Marketing article, FCA director of long-term savings and pensions Nick Poyntz-Wright warned insurers not to think they should carry on with business as usual whilst they await the results of the FCA’s work. He also pointed out that the guidance to clean up misleading comparison sites will be introduced sooner.
Nick will be joining us this Thursday afternoon for our latest MM Wired live TV panel debates to talk about the FCA’s annuity review, along with other guests such as Labour shadow pensions minister Gregg McClymont and a number of advisers, including Money Marketing columnist Robert Reid.
Viewers will be able to ask questions live on air or beforehand through the comment box available by clicking on the watch live links on this page. You can also leave a question or opinion via twitter through the hashtag #MMWired. This is your chance to hear from and quiz the FCA on these important reforms and suggest your own ideas for change.
Full details of the line-up for the shows can be found here where you can also sign up for an email reminder that the shows are about to start. You will also be able to view the three shows afterwards on demand on our website.
We hope you’ll be able to join us live on the air this Thursday afternoon from 2pm.
Paul McMillan is group editor at Money Marketing– follow him on twitter here