Leading life offices and fund managers have thrown their support behind the movement for annuity ...
Leading life offices and fund managers have thrown their support behind the movement for annuity legislation which would enable retirees greater control over their pension and the right not to have to purchase an annuity when they reach age 75.
The Retirement Income Reform Campaign - which launched in January this year - now has the backing of some of the top players in the financial industry.
Spokesman for the RIRC Iain Anderson says investment managers and life companies including Aegon, Norwich Union, Aberdeen Asset Management and Dresdner RCM are funding the campaign group, which has already been in talks with the DSS and the Treasury.
"They [DSS and Treasury]have shown an interest but that's different to getting a commitment. They are sympathetic but we have yet to hear them say they want reform."
THe Retirement Income Reform Group has been campaigning hard to raise public knowledge of issues surrounding annuities reform,and appears to have gained support from Labour backbencher and former pensions minister Frank Field.
Anderson believes the campaign will have a successful ending - particularly now it has the financial and moral support of financial services providers - as interest in the campaign is reaching the highest government levels, including current Prime Minister Tony Blair.
"We're quite positive going forward that we should be able to get legislation in the next couple of years or so."
Singnificant possibilities for reforms may come from Europe, says Anderson, as the Prime Minister's wife, Cherie Booth, is playing an active part in a court case challenging the right to buy alternative products to annuities.
"Cherie Blair is acting on exactly this issue in the European Court of Human Rights for British citizen Joseph Singer, to challenge the compulsory purchase of annuities. Human rights legislation is being challenged on the grounds that it is unfair anyone should be forced to buy an annuity with their pension.
"If the European courts rule this in Cherie Booth's client's favour that will have a significant impact on UK legislation."
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