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By Donia O'Loughlin | Published Jul 12, 2012

IFAs: Gender directive will bring opportunities

UK-based IFAs believe that the opportunities offered by the forthcoming gender directive, set to come into force on 21 December 2011, far outweigh the threats, according to a study conducted by Scottish Provident.

Conducted as part of Scottish Provident’s Women and Protection campaign, the study, which was conducted through IFA promotional website Unbiased.com and received 129 responses, found that 75 per cent of IFAs see the directive as advantageous.

Some two in three responded saying it will give them an additional reason to talk to their clients because this is something that will directly affect them, while almost one in six are acting in the hope of bringing female clients on board before the directive deadline.

In March 2011, the European Court of Justice ruled that insurers cannot charge different annuity rates for men and women.

There has since been concern that gender neutral pricing will increase the cost of annuities for women and will directly affect any pension schemes which insure death benefits or secure benefits by buying annuities

Last month, Scottish Provident published research suggesting that women should take advantage of current pricing plans to avoid the potential negative effects of the changes.

The latest Scottish Provident data showed that only 22 per cent of IFAs view the approaching deadline as a threat. However, 12 per cent are concerned they will lose female clients as a result of the ECJ ruling coming into force, and 10 per cent believe they will lose male clients.

Surprisingly, some 3 per cent of IFAs were not even aware of the gender directive.

Jennifer Gilchrist, senior product development manager at Scottish Provident, said: “In some ways the gender directive provides an immediate opportunity for the protection market.

“With prices on a range of protection products currently at an all-time low, our campaign is designed to paint a clear message that financial protection is a necessity and people should get it in place now before premiums increase. It is vital that everyone safeguards their families’ futures against unforeseen future circumstances.

“It is clear that women are especially vulnerable to the increased costs of life insurance following the directive, but there will likely be price rises across the board. IFAs should take advantage of this now and encourage clients to protect their families against the worst case scenarios. ”

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