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The Annuity Bureau predicts a flurry of activity


The Annuity Bureau is predicting a flurry of activity in the annuity market over the coming months.


Believing there will be more activity in the next five months than there has been in the last five years.


The prediction comes against the background of pensioners increasingly looking to maximise their pensions in retirement


The bureau believes there is a perception among retirees that they must choose between the extremes of either the safe route of a standard annuity or the riskier route of a unit linked or a with-profits annuity.


But, the bureau&#39s managing director Peter Quinton believes &#34most people prefer to play safe&#34 and actually want something in between these extremes. As a result he thinks there will be a glut of new launches in June and July as companies try to fill the perceived void in the market.


He says: &#34In our experience, the majority of people approaching retirement are reluctant to take risks with their pension income. Consumers are weighing up if they should be taking a risk with their annuity. The products that will be successful are those offering a limited downside, so people are confident in the knowledge that there income cannot fall.&#34


Norwich Union, CGU, Legal & General, Axa Sun Life, Merchant Investors and AIG are some of the providers Quinton predicts will be challenging the status quo with product launches this summer.


Quinton says: Some of these will be just copying what already available in the market but adding some bells and whistles. While others will be more innovative. It is the latter that we feel will be the more successful.&#34


Norwich Union&#39s press officer Andrew Stronach says: &#34We have a team looking at the options. One of the options we are considering is a with-profits annuities, which offer better returns and the benefits of with profit investment smoothing.&#34


Axa Sun Life&#39s marketing manager Steve Muir says: &#34We are looking at launching a with profit annuity contract, but this depends on its viability.&#34


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