Level annuity rates are holding steady in July with several firms vying for top of the table, Alexander Forbes Annuity Bureau says.
The top male rate from Aviva was unchanged at £6450 for a male, aged 60 with a £100,000 purchase. Meanwhile Aegon Scottish Equitable upped its female rates by £88 per annum to £6108 for a 60-year-old female making a £100,000 purchase - grabbing top slot from last month's number one Aviva by just £8 per annum.
However, the best index linked annuities slipped in July with last month's leader Canada Life cutting its rate by £74 per annum to £3695 (male, aged 60, £100,000 purchase) demoting it to fourth place on the table. Aviva gained the top position with its best rate of £3740 (male, aged 60, £100,000 purchase) unchanged from July.
The top level smoker's rates from Liverpool Victoria of £7506 (male, aged 60, smoker, £100,000 purchase) was unchanged for the third month running and all top four providers held their rates unchanged since June.
Alexander Forbes Annuity Bureau director Tim Whiting said: "Annuity rates have generally held firm as we enter July, with changes in rates only limited among the top providers.
"Over the last twelve months however the picture is less satisfactory with top level rates down about 9% or 10% and smokers rates falling by some 6% to 7% over the year.
"This longer term trend underlines the importance of retirees taking the open market option on retirement and shopping around for the best rate. Industry campaigns to speed the transfer of annuities are now bearing fruit and it is now even quicker and easier for retirees to opt for an open market annuity."
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