Personal Pension  

Busy bees at Tenet and poorly providers: week in news

Busy bees at Tenet and poorly providers: week in news

Post pension freedom problems, regulatory delays and fund outflows for the biggest providers all made the news over the last five days.

These themes and a couple more will now be condensed into our regular end-of-week round-up.

1) Pension problems and solutions

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The week began with the Chartered Insurance Institute issuing an “unprecedented” call to life, pension and long-term savings providers to commit to a new framework of professional standards.

After last April’s landmark at-retirement reforms, the CII and various industry stakeholders undertook a year of analysis, looking at the challenges facing the sector and identified the first point of contact for savers as being a crucial area to aim at improving, in order to ensure consistency of consumer experience across the industry.

Nine big name companies have already signed up to the two-year commitment to raise their game, with the CII’s director of financial services and insurance markets Steve Jenkins telling FTAdviser the rest of the industry is getting on board soon.

More post-freedoms data dribbled out this week as well, with predictions of the death of annuities turning out to be wide of the mark, according to eValue statistics.

Meanwhile, Intelligent Pensions suggested defined benefit pension transfer requests have surged by more than 14 times over the last year, as members take advantage of the increased flexibility.

Yesterday (9 June), Hargreaves Lansdown announced it would not to revive its DB pensions transfer operations, after temporarily closing the service last August in response to an inundation of transfer requests.

“When a client asks us whether they should transfer out of a DB scheme, the trouble is most of the time the answer is ‘no you shouldn’t,’” pointed out head of communications Danny Cox.

Finally, on DB issues, Standard Life Wealth’s head of business development Ronnie Binnie argued that the regulation covering such legacy schemes must keep pace with that covering the rapidly-expanding defined contribution side of the market.

2) Asset managers hit by volatility

Standard Life was also in the news as the hardest hit - £1.4bn left its European Equity Income fund - of a group of its peers that took the brunt of an asset management sales downturn across last year.

BlackRock, Deutsche Asset Management, JPMorgan, Fidelity, Schroders and Invesco - six of Europe’s top 10 largest fund providers - all suffered at the hands of chaotic market conditions, according to Morningstar figures.

The wider industry appears to be in flux, with M&G again changing the pricing on its £4.7bn Property Portfolio, reflecting flows in and out of the fund.

Meanwhile, Aviva Investors is to close its £60m Global Cautious Income and £39m Global Balanced Income over fears their income targets could lead to “an inappropriate level of risk” being taken in future.

3) Advisers in the dock

On Monday (6 June), four men were found guilty of a tax avoidance scheme that conned HM Revenue & Customs out of £100m.