This is the first page in a new series looking at the state of the stakeholder market and will appear in Money Marketing every month.
We aim to tackle stakeholder from the product perspective, bringing you details of new products as they are launched. Nigel Barlow, the head of research at Countrywide Independent Advisers will be our IFA expert, analysing the new stakeholder plans, comparing them with those already out there. All these plans are included in a table, so you can see at a glance what is on offer.
In the process of creating the table, Legal & General brought to our attention that it prefers not to call its product stakeholder-friendly. Instead, Legal & General, like some other pension companies, offers a guarantee.
Anyone who buys a pension from Legal and General after March 31, 1999 who is later eligible for a stakeholder pension, can transfer to a stakeholder pension with Legal & General, and it will be backdated to when the pension was originally bought.
While this does explain why some leading pension providers, Legal & General in particular, are not in the table, there are more serious implications for its policyholders. The higher charges of a pension that is not yet stakeholder friendly may seriously eat in to contributions made until April 2001.
Policyholders may not remember to take advantage of the guaranteed transfer to the stakeholder plan within the six months permitted by Legal & General.
So it is up to IFAs to ensure that all clients who started making contributions to pensions under this and guarantees like this, to reassess their clients' circumstances when stakeholder is available and decide whether it is more beneficial for them to go the stakeholder route.