Zurich launches retirement services ahead of April

Zurich launches retirement services ahead of April

Zurich has launched a range of services ahead of the upcoming pension freedoms, which will include a long-term care solution, Alistair Wilson, head of platform retail strategy, has said.

According to Mr Wilson, Zurich’s retail platform will offer an enhanced drawdown capability to let customers take unrestricted income under the new rules from 6 April.

It will also support Uncrystallised Fund Pension Lump Sum giving customers who want to access their pension savings as a cash alternative.

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To help advisers and clients plan for the longer-term, the insurer is also working on a long-term care solution, which will help support customers who are looking to protect themselves for future care needs.

“We are firm supporters of the flexibility the new pension regime will give customers in April but as recent ILC-UK research has shown, greater choice can mean more complexity for customers, which means the need for advice is more critical than ever”, he said.

The services Zurich has been implementing have been designed to engage customers, supporting advisers and their clients through the pension planning process and covering the various options available with a clear audit trail.

Mr Wilson added: “These enhancements complement our wider at retirement provision, demonstrating we recognise that people will want to protect themselves from the potential risks that they face in retirement as well as ensuring they benefit from the new freedoms.”

As well as allowing advisers to take full advantage of the new regime Zurich will also be offering a new online adviser support service from April at no additional cost to platform users.

It will also include an enhanced customer reporting suite for advisers designed with FE to help manage a customer’s tax position and track their progress.

The news comes a week after revelations that some of the largest life offices – especially the so-called zombie insurers such as Equitable Life and Phoenix Group – said they were not certain what they would be able to offer consumers from 6 April.

Adviser view

Mark Heys, director of Shropshire-based Chequers Wealth Management, said: “Anything that gives you more information has got to be a good thing.

“I am feeling quite comfortable about the reforms. The changes are positive and we have seen an increase in interest in pensions generally.”