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Plea to reveal all annuity rates

Standard Life is calling for the FSA to order all annuity providers to publish their rates and says firms that do not make their rates publicly available are not treating customers fairly.

Head of pensions policy John Lawson says annuities should be treated the same as with-profits policies where all providers are required to publish bonus rates regularly.

Lawson singles out HBOS as a big provider that does not publish its annuity rates.

He says: “Why doesn’t the FSA make it mandatory for companies like HBOS to publish their rates? It is not treating customers fairly. The FSA ought to be challenging them on this point.”

Aegon head of pensions development Rachel Vahey says providers that offer annuities to closed pension books should also have to publish their rates because they are often among the least competitive rates.

She says: “You have all this information on the FSA comparative tables but providers with closed books do not at the moment have to supply annuity information to them. Clients could make a much better decision.”

An HBOS spokesman says: “We do not actively market our own annuities so that is why they are not published. The Bank of Scotland Annuity Service offers whole of market advice and it will find the best annuity rate on the open market for customers.”

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