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Open up choice with opt-out move

Policymakers should consider making pensioners have to opt out of the open market option by actively choosing to stay with their provider, says Living Time sales and marketing director Dave Harris.

Harris told panellists at Money Marketing’s at-retirement round table: “We have been working on encouraging enrolment in the accumulation phase of retirement. We should be making the case for having to opt out of taking the Omo and to make sure that people physically have to opt out.”

He said the industry should lay out the terms of how it could get to this position, including achieving appropriate streaming and dealing with triviality. He said this process would include aligning any reforms with the retail distribution review.

Retirement Partnership managing director Steve Lewis called for simple regulatory changes to raise awareness of the Omo and said it was ridiculous that people first learned about it from providers at the point of retirement.

Lewis said: “There could be a regulation that requires providers to communicate about the Omo, starting five years before retirement to educate the policyholder. You could do that in a statement sent out every year. To hear providers telling people about the Omo at the point of retirement is ridiculous.”

Thinc group director of research David Cartwright said: “You should promote the exit route as strongly as the accumulation phase because the value you get out aged 62 or 64 is as crucial as the value you get at the accumulation phase at 44.”

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