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US annuity giant Hartford to make debut in UK with bond

The biggest annuity provider in the US is targeting a 2005 UK launch of a new single-premium unit-linked investment bond product.

The Hartford – America&#39s sixth-biggest life company – is planning to bring the product, which in the US and Japan it calls a “variable annuity”, to the UK through IFAs.

The group had assets of £123bn in 2003 and is the number one seller of retail annuities in the US. It is America&#39s second-biggest provider in group life sales.

The Hartford took its variable annuity product to Japan in December 2000 and achieved a dominant 26 per cent market share with business of £3.7bn by 2003. It is working on developing its core variable annuity product, which can be used to take funds through an annuity or withdrawals of cash or through growth options, to meet UK regulation. The Hartford sees the UK as the first stage of a move into European markets.

Hartford Life International chairman and chief executive Gregory Boyko says: “We are 100 per cent committed to third-party distributors and IFAs will be a key market for us when we launch in the UK in 2005.”

Wentworth Rose chairman Philip Rose says: “There is real scope and space for fresh initiatives in the UK financial services market because we have weakened our home market with a combination of regulation, poor investment returns and the 1 per cent cap.”


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