The eight-day transfer time average achieved in Q1 by the participating providers contrasts starkly with our experience of some pension companies. It can still take many weeks and in some cases months for providers who are not yet participating in Options to arrange the transfer of funds to enable annuity policies to be established. As a result, customers may lose out because their annuity rates fall during this time and, consequently, they end up with a reduced income.
We are particularly concerned that some companies with significant pension books have not yet signed up, and we encourage them to do so as soon as possible. As the FSA noted in its recent sector newsletter, “we are encouraged by the number of firms who have joined the initiative but note that there are still some firms that have yet to participate. We urge all provider firms active in the personal pension market to join in this process and adopt the new improved transfer procedures.”
As professional advisers specialising in arranging open market annuity policies, we strongly support the Options project. The companies involved have delivered their commitment to customer service as shown by the improvements achieved in Q1.
We strongly urge those who have not yet signed up to engage with other providers and Origo as soon as possible, and ensure their customers are not disadvantaged by their provider’s non-engagement.
Stuart Bayliss, Annuity Direct
Billy Burrows, William Burrows Annuity Associates
Jacqueline Conroy, Capita
Steve Hunt, Rockingham Retirement
Sean McCabe, Chartwell
Michael Slevin, Kerr Henderson
Malcolm Thomas, The Annuity Portal
Michael Thraves, Alexander Forbes
Robert Tinsley, Origen