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Which? slams Saga over confusing OMO/single-tie message

Which? has criticised Saga for sending out a “confusing” message by having a single-tied annuity relationship whilst campaigning for prospective retirees to use the open-market option.

The consumer body says Saga’s tied offering with Legal & General “sits uneasily” with its calls for consumers to shop around for the best deal.

Last year, concerns were raised in Money Marketing that Saga was sticking with its single-tied offering despite campaigning for greater OMO take-up.

Which? says Saga’s L&G offering means someone with a medical condition and a £50,000 pot taking a level annuity would get £257 a year less than they would with Just Retirement and £254 less than with Partnership.

A Which? spokesman says: “We believe Saga’s tied deal with Legal & General contradicts their campaign for people to shop around to get the best annuity rate. Consumers should not assume that Saga will offer them the best deal.”

Saga Services chief executive Roger Ramsden says Which? is not presenting a “balanced reflection” of its proposition.

He says: “We have never positioned ourselves as a provider who has access to rates from the whole of the market and have been very clear that our service is provided by L&G. The Saga Annuity Service offers one option to consider when buying an annuity, and is designed to give the prudent savers of Middle Britain a better pension deal.”

Ramsden says the service does not claim to offer the best rates in all circumstances.

He adds: “The reality is a significant proportion of consumers still do not shop around when choosing their annuity, and may receive a significantly worse return over their retirement as a result.”


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There are 11 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. How is this confusing? its a simple case of profiteering.

  2. SAGA are, in my experience, a company who do not seem to mind taking advantage of their trusted brand.

    They push tied insurance products – home insurance being one example that springs to mind – and make themselves out to be a holier than thou defender of older people.

    I bet they pitch this tie in with L&G as something to provide a benefit to their customers.

  3. Wonder what consumer champion Ros Altman has to say on this…

  4. Ross – I thought Ros Altman is a PENSIONS EXPERT and CONSUMER CHAMPION. At least that’s what the BBC say.

    I am therefore sure that SAGA have done what’s best for their customers.

  5. Chris, and she’s also employed by SAGA…

  6. This is almost as unthinkable as Which having their own “pretending to be free” mortgage advice service – oh hang on….

  7. Larry in London 28th August 2012 at 3:04 pm


    Didn’t Which? recommend endowment mortgages to their poor unsuspecting readers?

    Sounds like the pot calling the kettle black.

    TTFN darlings!


  8. man on the moon 28th August 2012 at 3:26 pm

    Nice bit of marketing work carried out for me.

    Thanks SAGA.

    Clients can get a better deal using the likes of me.

    Hurray! Super news for a change!!!!

  9. Yeah but they’re only doing it for the benefit of their customers. Nothing in it for them is there? They hide behind their so called cause on behalf of getting “the prudent savers of Middle Britain a better pension deal.” Knowing fine well there are other OMO providers who will offer a better deal so why don’t they tell them to shop around?

  10. James (a different one!) 28th August 2012 at 4:42 pm

    James, they do tell them to shop around!!

    Crikey. What is it about any type of competition, efficient or inefficient, that seems to get the posters of this particular publication so wound up? The Banks, Saga, Tesco, I’m sure some even have problems with Greggs.

    So Saga, a commercial operation, has a sole tie to L&G, woopy doo. I have just checked their website, and they have the OMO button on the same introduction page, and also a comparison calculator. The fact that some people may choose to secure their annuity from Saga says more about what they think of the advisory population rather than suggesting some kind of conspiracy.

    I’ve also checked their complaints data. Decumulation, life and pensions Zero,
    Investments Zero. So it looks as though their customers are happy.

    As the man in the moon says, they have just given all IFA’s some free advertising, so stop this constant small person syndrome and go & get some of their business..

  11. James (a different one!) | 28 Aug 2012 4:42 pm

    Wow lecture over is it? From the information you have to hand I have just a little suspicion you might be a connected person.
    On the OMO page you refer to they do point out the benefits of shopping around but then draw their attention to the fact they can get a personalised quote by contacting them by telephone. A Personalised quote from what company exactly? This is what Which is drawing your attention to (you missed that didn’t you?) as it’s a confusing message to say the least.
    As for the man in the moon he knows Greggs pasties are very nice so no call for complaints there then.

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