Nationwide launches new Annuity Service

05 March 2012

People could earn on average an extra 20 per cent a month during their retirement with the help of a new Annuity Service being launched today by Nationwide Building Society.

The Society is aiming to help those who are considering retirement choose an annuity, which converts a pension pot into retirement income. With industry figures suggesting two out of three retirees1 are failing to shop around for the best annuity rate, the service aims to meet a growing need to improve customers' retirement income.

The service takes the hard work out of choosing the right annuity by outlining customers' financial options in retirement and supporting them throughout the application process. It provides access through The Open Market Annuity Service to a panel of six leading annuity providers, carefully chosen and regularly reviewed by Nationwide on the basis of their financial strength, customer service and competitive rates. They are currently Aviva, Canada Life, Just Retirement, Legal & General, LV=, and Partnership.

The service aims to help people tailor an annuity to their personal circumstances, to help maximise the income they could receive each year. For example, customers are asked to disclose their lifestyle and medical histories - such as smoking and any medical conditions, including diabetes or high blood pressure - to see if they qualify for a higher retirement income from an enhanced annuity. The service is backed by a telephone-based medical interview, so that the panel of providers can give customers the best possible annuity quote. It helps two thirds of customers2 who could qualify, to obtain an enhanced annuity rate.

By using the open market option, John Brown, 65, who has a pension pot of £50,000 and an offer from his pension provider of £2,379, can obtain £571 extra a year through Legal & General, resulting in more than £8,500 additional income after 15 years. By disclosing his medical history, he can achieve an extra £937 a year via Just Retirement, providing an extra £14,000 after 15 years.

Customers should shop around for the best rate, and not simply buy an annuity from the same company that provided their pension scheme. Failing to look at alternative annuity providers means savers could lose more than £3 billion in retirement income during the next 20 years, according to figures by the Pensions Income Choice Association.

Guy Simmonds, head of product for protection and investments at Nationwide, said: "Many people think they have to buy their annuity from their pension provider. But that provider may not necessarily offer the best deal.

"Nationwide has handpicked a range of leading annuity providers through The Open Market Annuity Service to help customers shop around. Combined with our clear and transparent advice, we can help people choose the right annuity for their circumstances. It is our way of helping people to achieve a better retirement income, and it fits with our pledge to our customers to be 'On your side'."

Nationwide's new Annuity Service is available to those with a pension pot of just £18,000, and is available on an advised or non-advised basis. Advice is available in branches.

Notes to editors:

1 Source: NAPF
2 Source: ABI

About Nationwide Building Society
Nationwide is the world's largest building society as well as one of the largest savings providers and a top-three provider of mortgages in the UK. It is also a major provider of current accounts, credit cards, ISAs and personal loans. Nationwide has around 15 million members.

Since the credit crunch began in 2007, Nationwide has remained profitable against a very difficult economic environment. In the half year ending September 2011 Nationwide made a strong underlying profit of £172 million - up 17% from the previous year. Its strong financial performance and prudent business model means that Nationwide is included in Global Finance magazine's Top 50 Safest Banks in the World.

Nationwide has around 700 branches and customers can manage their finances in branch, on the telephone, internet and post. The Society has around 16,000 employees. Nationwide's head office is in Swindon with administration centres based in Northampton, Bournemouth and Dunfermline. The Society also has a number of call centres across the UK.

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