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Project will bring benefits on annuities

Following a meeting between leading retirement advisers and provider representatives at the ABI, we are writing to support and endorse an industry initiative to reduce the time it takes to arrange an open market option annuity.

At present, it can take up to 10 weeks to set up a new annuity policy and, as a result, many customers lose out because their annuity payments are delayed and they may end up with reduced annuity if rates fall during this time.

To address this, the Open Market Pensions Transfer Service (Options) has been developed by the UK’s leading pension and annuity providers and Origo, in conjunction with the ABI. The aim is to deliver faster transfer turn-round times for customers using the open market option to set up annuities with another provider.

Options has 16 participants, representing 90 per cent plus of the UK annuity market and, at present, Aegon, Just Retirement, Legal & General, LV=, Partnership, Prudential and Standard Life are using the system. Other companies will go live soon, and we urge these firms to step up their efforts to go live on the service as soon as possible.

The ABI is in discussions with HM Revenue & Customs to agree a reduction in much of the bureaucracy surroun-ding an annuity purchase. We fully support this effort

Origo and the ABI are looking at ways to better communicate details of the Options service to advisers, and are encouraging all insurance companies to participate in this service. We fully support these efforts and would expect providers who are not involved to sign up, so that the initiative benefits all customers.

As professional advisers specialising in arranging open market annuity polices, we strongly support the Options project and encourage all insurance companies, the regulators and HMRC to work together to develop a more efficient service that will benefit customers when buying an annuity.

Stuart Bayliss,

Annuity Direct

Jacqueline Conroy,

Capita Hartshead

Sean McCabe,

Chartwell Annuity Centre

Nigel Callaghan,

Hargreaves Lansdown

Michael Slevin,

Kerr Henderson

Steve Hunt,

Rockingham Retirement

Malcolm Thomas,

The Annuity Portal

Nick Flynn,

The Retirement Adviser

Billy Burrows,

William Burrows Annuities

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