If you follow current retirement advice you will know that it is important to plan for your retirement. In all likelihood if you are not in a Final Salary Payment Scheme you will be relying on an annuity to provide the income for your pension once you retire from the world of work. It is a well-known fact that the average man on the street is not really sure about annuities, in fact it would not be wrong to say about half the target group are clueless. As someone who has been thinking about annuities recently, in line with current guidelines I am not leaving this to chance at the last minute, I was attracted to an advertisement in my daily newspaper.
It was loudly proclaiming “Looking for a Better Annuity?”. It then went on to suggest that one’s current pension provider may not in actual fact be offering the best annuity rate. This company then more or less offered to provide a higher rate annuity and to even better this if there were particular medical or lifestyle conditions (no mention of what these were however). The advert continued to sing the company’s praises mentioning league tables and mentions in financial journals. They then made it very easy to contact them either personally or by telephone. This really started me thinking.
This is all very well you may be saying, what is the problem? The problem is the very last sentence in their advert which states that they can only advise on products which they offer. Is this going to be a fair comparison with an existing pension quotation? It seems to me that this is the exact opposite to what is required when someone is shopping around for pension or annuity information. They want the best deals that are on offer, suggested by independent advisors, not by someone tied into a particular company’s product. If they follow this kind of approach they may well need to contact other companies for quotations. Unprincipled companies know that individuals are not very likely to do this, if they receive a favourable offer then they are likely to settle on this and go no further.
This does not seem to be transparent and in the long run benefits the company and not the individual. It would be refreshing to see a one-stop-one-shop approach offering truly independent advice and as a result peace of mind for future retirees.