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MM leader: ABI offers a welcome but narrow window

The ABI’s new annuity window has exposed the huge differences between the annual incomes available to consumers who stay with their pension provider and those who shop around.

The tool offers a snapshot of the rates offered under different scenarios, with up to a 46 per cent difference between some enhanced annuity deals and a 30 per cent difference on standard rates.

Lloyds Banking Group brands, including Scottish Widows, which see much of their business come from internal vesting, were among the worst offenders.

In exposing the scale of the cuts to potential retirement income experienced by consumers sticking with providers which do not offer competitive open market rates, the tool provides a valuable service. We hope those performing badly will be shamed into increasing their rates.

However, its usefulness to consumers is limited. Annuity Direct chief executive Alan Higham highlighted serious concerns about the service in an article on the MM website last week, including worries the simplistic portrayal of rates, which may well not be available to the individual client, could seriously undermine annuity advice.

As the debacle over missing enhanced annuity providers on the Money Advice Service website shows, relying solely on limited price-led online guidance can be a dangerous game to play. For anyone with a decent-sized pension pot, there are serious, often complicated, questions to be answered about the annuity process; chiefly whether an annuity is the right place to be at all.

Limited online information is no substitute for a professional advice service which is likely to lead to significant increases in retirement income.

Massow failure was no surprise

Readers can be forgiven for indulging in a little schadenfreude on the MM website last week after we reported on the failure of Ivan Massow’s trail commission venture.

The anger which followed our revelation that the firm will keep any future trail, if the customer does not move to another adviser, is also understandable. Massow has now clarified that the firm will look to deregister, with any trail not moved by that point kept by the insurer.

Massow’s failure was no surprise. The simplistic “trail commission scam” picture he painted at launch was far from the reality experienced by most clients.




IMA: Fund managers need better client communications

A couple of months ago, I was discussing the importance of improved communication for clients and questioning what it means in practice. Findings from the IMA’s 11th annual asset management survey show that fund management firms fully recognise that better communication is needed to maintain and improve trust among the industry’s retail client base. The […]

BoE sends ‘clear signal’ interest rates will be held

Bank of England deputy governor Charlie Bean says officials are sending a “clear signal” they will not raise interest rates in the near future. In an interview with Bloomberg at the Jackson Hole Economic Policy Symposium, Bean said the bank was “communicating not just to market participants, but to people, to households and businesses, to […]


Co-op Bank reports £709m losses as it presses ahead with ‘bail in’

The Co-operative Bank has reported losses of £709m for the first half of the year as it presses ahead with controversial plans to plug its £1.5bn capital shortfall. The half year results show losses were driven by £496m of loan writedowns and £61m related to further consumer redress payments, including PPI misselling. It compares to […]


Ivan Massow trail closure to come under BBC Money Box spotlight

The closure of Ivan Massow’s trail commission return business is set to be scrutinised by a BBC Money Box programme tomorrow. The programme will feature an interview with Massow about the venture and why it failed, as well as adviser interviews about trail commission generally. Massow announced last week that the service,, would be […]


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