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TPAS service set to boost Omo option

The Pensions Advisory Service is due to launch its annuity service to consumers by the end of April in a bid to increase the number of people using the open market option.

As part of the Government’s review into the annuity market, it announced a number of measures which included TPAS setting up an internet-based structured choice tool to guide people through their retirement income options.

The tool is being tested by consumers at present. It aims to help investors choose the best annuity for them and will be linked with the FSA comparative tables.

The FSA is looking into the worst-performing providers in terms of delays in transferring Omo funds and reviewing this against its treating customers fairly principle.

In addition, the Association of British Insurers will be revamping and promoting its statement of good practice on pensions maturities.

The Government was criticised when the Omo review was published by some commentators who said it did not go far enough to address the fact that only a third of annuity customers shop around.

Informed Choice managing director Nick Bamford says: “I hope this works. We are very often faced with people who come to us with small pots of money and ask for advice. We sometimes say to them it would be better to go to a commission-based IFA or to do it themselves because it will be too expensive to do it with us on a fee basis. Any services to encourage people to shop around are good news.”

A TPAS spokesman says: “We are still at the consumer testing stage but hope to have rolled this out by the end of April.”

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