A list of the worst offenders for delayed annuity transfer has been released by the Annuities Clearing House (ACH), with Windsor Life and Phoenix topping the bill.
Major life insurers are taking more than 50 days to transfer pension money for customers exercising the open market option (OMO) on annuities.
Research from the Annuities Clearing House reveals the best and worst providers for annuity transfer times, with many taking a month or more to make funds available for annuity purchase.
Windsor Life Assurance and Phoenix both took the longest to transfer funds for OMO customers, with an average of 51 days needed to provide cash for annuity purchase.
Zurich Assurance was found to provide the quickest service, with average transfers of just 18 days, closely followed by Abbey Life (19 days) and Virgin Money (21 days).
ACH’s managing director, Steve Hunt, says the performance of many top pension providers is not good enough and has called on the FSA to take action.
“ACH is determined to bring this matter to the attention of the Financial Services Authority in order to encourage the watchdog to clamp down on these appalling inefficiencies,” he says.
“Transfer times are gradually improving but three to four weeks to transfer funds across is still far too long – and, as our research shows, there are clearly some serious offenders out there.”
ACH says many consumers risk losing out on the best annuity deals, because funds take so long to transfer that initial offers have often been withdrawn by providers.
The problem has been exacerbated in recent months as annuity rates have begun to fall.
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