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Retirement Code: helping customers to get a better deal


Today the Daily Mail has published our response to the alleged breaches to the ABI’s Retirement Code. As we said at the time, we took the allegations very seriously and have investigated them thoroughly as we know that our members are committed to making the Code work effectively.

The pensions industry committed to helping people shop around to set up their retirement annuity when it signed up to the compulsory code of conduct in March this year.

We are absolutely determined to make the Code as effective as possible, so we conducted a rigorous investigation into whether the code was being breached in any way.

Our analysis has been thorough, involving detailed conversations with pension companies and an extensive review of all communication materials that are sent to customers at different stages.

This includes the application packs, cover letters, illustrations and application forms, as well as reading call scripts used to talk to customers.

We did not find that the code was being breached, or that our members were trying to undermine the aims of the code.

But we did find areas where the code can be improved to make it work better for customers. At the moment, the process focuses on when companies contact customers as they approach retirement.

But we acknowledge that it could be clearer about what happens if a customer proactively calls to ask about retiring early. The written information these customers are given should always state their right to shop around, and about the different types of annuity available.

We are making revisions to the code to ensure this is clearly stated, and consistently delivered to all customers, irrespective of how the retirement process starts.

We always said that we would keep the code under review, and we plan to do a further complete review next March — by which time it will have been up and running for a year.

We want to see the system working effectively for everyone. Part of this is about helping people save throughout their working lives, and the other part of the jigsaw is about making sure they are able to turn those savings into an income that is most suitable for them.

We are determined that the code will support people in doing this.

Last updated 29/06/2016