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Soaps clean up on pensions

This year will, of course, be the biggest for pensions for a long time, with the launch of not one, but two brand-spanking new pension concepts in the form of Individual Pen sion Accounts and (you may have heard of this one) the long-awaited stakeholder pensions.

Both schemes will be a roaring success, particularly in the individual market. This audience will be so wooed by the multi-million-pound advertising campaign, it is all they can do to resist diverting their hard-earned Friday night funds into a stakeholder.

It is easy to visualise the stakeholder telly ads: Corrie cuts to a commercial showing a scantily clad young couple frolicking on a sunny beach to the strains of the Lighthouse Family. But wait! The scene fades to an impoverished future where the elderly, unstak eholdered couple huddle round a one-bar fire, bef ore the ad switches back to the now frowning couple.

Rubbing their chins, they grab their beach towels and get themselves down to their bank to get missold a stakeholder, to start contributing without delay.

Also in 2001, many IFAs will be forced to install 0898 numbers. This will not be a desperate attempt to diversify their income streams in light of the banks muscling in on group stakeholder business, but an attempt to deal with the floods of Equitable Life policy holders expecting free advice.

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