Pension panel highlights 'consumer awareness' issue

22 January 2008 / by None
Many consumers are unclear about their current pension schemes and what options are available to them, an expert panel has claimed.

The Prudential Retirement Income Panel consists of retirement and pensions specialists who have expressed concern over the levels of customer service offered to those taking out annuities.

The speed at which pension funds are converted into annuities is an area of contention often resulting in complaint, with many consumers lacking sufficient knowledge about the process times.

Nick Flynn of financial advisers Origen, stated: "Clients simply do not understand why it takes six weeks to get their pension. We write to clients and tell them it takes six to ten weeks and most of our complaints come because of that letter."

He went on to say that a large number of consumers do not understand the difference between "retirement vehicles" and "savings vehicles".

The panel acknowledged how it was crucial that they implement any consumer information changes voluntarily in order to avoid government regulation in the near future.

Elsewhere, research by PruProtect for Prudential has shown that just 25 per cent of those buying protection cover are led by price, with 42 per cent stating that the extent of cover provided is the most important factor.

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