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“Keep annuities simple” urges specialist

Pensions specialist Punter Southall is appealing to the Government to keep to new annuity rules simple in response to the DSS consultation paper on annuities.

In the paper the Government proposes relaxing the rules for money purchase occupational schemes allowing their members to take advantage of investment linked and with-profit annuities.

But the consulting actuary warn that if the Government overburdens the industry with too much regulation on the annuities it will strangle the move for greater flexibility.

It says money purchase schemes should be free to choose any format on which to base annuities, but says that while the proposals are welcome there is no need for any of the “over-prescriptive” regulations that are being considered.

It highlights the fact the Government is considering limiting the choice of anticipated bonus rates and requiring a minimum guarantee on the new alternative annuities.

Punter Southall principal and actuary Ronnie Sloan says: “Any such new rules will hamper innovation where it is most needed to combat diminishing income from conventional annuities.

“The commercial and regulatory controls that already exist should be enough to ensure that investment-linked and with-profits annuities meet all reasonable requirements.”


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