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Stakeholder slumps as focus shifts

The number of people taking out stakeholder pensions fell by 22 per cent to 58,000 in the first quarter of the year from 74,000 in the first quarter of 2003, according to ABI figures.

Stakeholder premiums fell by 8 per cent from £131m to £120m but total new individual regular-premium pension sales rose by 3 per cent from £837m to £862m.

The poor sales figures follow major pension providers moving commission focus away from low-premium stakeholder pension business to other product areas.

Spokeswoman Emma Quantrill says: “We have always said we do not want a product with a price cap because it will not work but, while stakeholder sales are down, employer-sponsored pension sales are up. The workplace is the natural place for pensions to be sold.”

Informed Choice managing director Nick Bamford says: “If providers are not paying commission to advisers to promote the product, then advisers will stop promoting the product.”

The ABI says total private medical insurance plans held steady last year at 3.7 million. The number of corporate health policies rose from 2.5 million in 2002 to 2.6 million.

Head of health Richard Walsh says the Government should reinforce the contribution of employers by cutting the tax burden on corporate PMI.

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