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Last Updated: Friday, 18 November 2005, 19:22 GMT
Have your say: Annuity delays
Alarm clock
Delays could leave people with no money to live on

People buying an annuity - an income for life - with their pension pot are suffering frustrating and costly delays, according to financial advisors.

Are you in the process of buying an annuity? Are you finding it difficult?

Have you recently bought an annuity? Did you suffer any delays?

Would you like to see regulations introduced on the time insurance companies have to complete annuity transfers? And should they pay interest when a delay occurs?

If you would like to comment please do so using the online form below.

I used the open market option and bought an annuity from another company offering considerably more income. The process was extremely slow and the most annoying feature was the fact that the amount eventually paid was slightly less than the quotation, and no satisfactory explanation was ever made.
Alan Tayler

It's just another insurance industry rip-off which robs you of the interest on your savings for the artificially created delay.

They should be fined and made to compensate all of those who suffer
Paul Millsom
They should be fined and made to compensate all of those who suffer.

Voluntary guidelines are a waste of time for the greedy, selfish insurance industry.
Paul Millsom

Using the open market I had a quote from an insurer and completed a transfer request at the start of October 2005.

The settlement was finally completed on the 8 November. The unit value I'm told was established on the 18 October when all the documents where to hand.

I have been arguing that the unit price should have been at the time they sold them in this case sometime early November even though they could have gone down, but in this case they went up.

The difference in the total was some 800. Who had the 800? That means a great deal having already lost a great amount of my pot to due some assistance of our chancellor.
Jim Curran

The financial pundits say we should always ask different annuity providers for quotes to get the best value from one's pension pot.

But it is impossible because a) generally the man in the street does not know who all the providers are and b) he has not got the time.

One's only recourse is to use an intermediary who needs paying, thereby reducing the size of one's eventual pension.

The various parties do not communicate properly in a timely fashion which means you risk the possibility of annuity rates falling. They then give time limits on accepting their offer.

About six weeks were lost and I received no compensation for the lost money I should have got from the pension
Malcolm Williams
In my case, the company I used to work for had to give permission for me to take a pension early, even though I had retired over two years earlier with their approval.

The trustees of the Pension Fund also had to give their permission. It was a money purchase scheme that I thought I controlled.

There was no sense of urgency. Eventually I found out that either my company's permission had not been sent or had been lost in the post.

About six weeks were lost and I received no compensation for the lost money I should have got from the pension.

Everybody seemed to blame each other.

The final annuity provider also had to be approved by the trustees. All this lost time! It was a good job I had other funds to exist on. What would have happened if I hadn't?

The whole system needs to be improved and speeded up and compensation and interest paid.
Malcolm Williams

I initiated the process of transferring an annuity in June of this year and I am still waiting.

So far I have filled in three sets of discharge forms and have had a great deal of frustration trying to talk to someone who knew what was going on.

I have now a name of someone who phoned me this week to report further delays.

The whole process has been a nightmare
Mary Connolly
I have made a complaint but seem to have been put on hold as the insurer "investigates" and deals with a backlog.

I definitely believe that interest should be paid.

The life company has had my money - approximately 20,000 - for seven months.

This is added to the insult of ending up with a third of what I was advised I would get when I took out the plan in 1990!

The whole process has been a nightmare and I can now totally understand why old ladies keep their money in a tin box under the bed!
Mary Connolly

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The comments we publish are not necessarily the views of the BBC but will reflect the balance of views we have received. It is helpful if contributors state if they work for any organisation relevant to an issue discussed. Readers should form their own views on whether messages published represent undeclared interests, or views prompted by a common source.

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