Today we publish a special Q and A session with Stuart Wilson from Primetime Retirement who is answering questions about the Offer More Options campaign.
What is the Offer More Options campaign?
The campaign was started by Living Time (now known as Primetime Retirement) in 2007. It is an industry-wide campaign designed to put advice and independent advisers at the heart of better financial outcomes in retirement. One of its primary goals is to encourage IFAs to promote a wider range of retirement income options to their clients.
So it’s a way of promoting your products, then?
Not at all – the campaign was designed to be completely product-neutral. At Primetime Retirement we believe that consumers should be offered more choice in retirement to help them maximise every £ of their pension fund. Whether they end up buying a Lifetime Annuity, a Variable Annuity, Conventional Drawdown or one of our products is irrelevant. The point of the campaign is to promote choice and innovation.
What has the campaign achieved since it launched?
The campaign has achieved a great deal in the 5 years since its launch.
It won a Financial Innovation Award in 2009 for most promising initiative and was shortlisted for another award in the same year. The campaign was also the launch pad for the development of PICA – the Pension Income Choice Association – of which Living Time was a founder and board member. PICA has become an important lobbying group on behalf of the industry and consumers themselves for change to key legislation such as the Open Market Option and the ‘Age 75’ rule.
The campaign is proud to have played its part in some of the changes which have come about in recent years, such as the removal of the Age 75 rule, which have helped give more flexibility and choice to retirees.
Who is the campaign for? Do consumers have a voice?
Currently the campaign is designed primarily for IFAs – advisers can sign up to support the campaign at the website (www.offermoreoptions.co.uk) and receive extra support and information on how to become an ‘offer more options’ advisory firm.
However, we recognise the power that consumers could bring to the campaign in terms of driving change and demanding greater innovation from this industry. We are therefore currently exploring ways of creating a consumer ‘face’ to the campaign.
Why is it important to give consumers greater choice in retirement?
The at-retirement landscape has changed beyond all recognition in recent years. Just a few generations ago it was fairly common for people to face just 5-10 years in retirement. Today, even the ‘average’ retiree will spend two decades in retirement and a small but growing number even longer.
With the prospect of spending longer and longer in retirement, it is important that retirees think very carefully about how they invest their pension fund – especially as so much can change over the course of a retirement. For example, their health might deteriorate or their spouse/partner may predecease them.
Where can I find out more?
You can visit the campaign website www.offermoreoptions.co.uk and sign up to support the campaign. This is the best way of keeping up to date with the campaign news. You can also follow us on Twitter @OMOcampaign. We are looking to relaunch the campaign later in the year with a renewed focus on supporting advisers who will still be operating in the retirement market post-RDR as well as exploring ways of bringing consumers into contact with the campaign.