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21 Jan, 2008

Nicole Blackmore - 21-Jan-2008

Pension providers must improve their levels of service to annuities customers and focus on speeding up fund transfer times, says the Prudential Retirement Income Panel.
The panel of retirement and pensions savings experts say providers also need to look at how they explain annuity options to consumers who are approaching retirement.

Association of British Insurers assistant director Helen White says: "Service standards are voluntary. We cannot force companies to adhere to these standards. If we don't make significant changes voluntarily, the Government will in a few years impose changes."? ?

The Panel also found that there is a specific need to encourage consumers to learn how annuities work, and understand all of their options.

Prudential Retail Life & Pensions managing director Gary Shaughnessy says there is false expectation surrounding how long people expect they'll live and a severe lack of understanding about the impact that inflation will have on their retirement income.

He says: "People are making decisions today, thinking about their current situation without considering what it might be in 10 or 15 years time. This issue needs to be addressed or we'll find pensioners living longer on ever reducing incomes."

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