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AKG Update Issue 26
27 September 2016
Freedom and choice reforms one year on and the introduction of the secondary annuity market

AKG has been monitoring developments in the retirement market with great interest since the introduction of pension freedoms and as many of you will know we published our own paper on this theme in July last year. The changes have had an impact on companies across our core assessment sectors and of course they have also impacted on the end customer and financial advisers. This year many of our assessment meetings with participant companies have incorporated discussion about the company’s strategic response to pension freedoms. However it is still quite early days and everyone involved is trying to keep abreast of, and read into what they can from, the available market data and customer research.

If you haven’t had a chance to view them yet it is certainly worthwhile making your way to the ABI website for their latest pension freedoms statistics. These were released in August 2016 and now cover the first year of pension freedoms in action. The ABI statistics can be accessed at

While the headline statistics provide useful background to the evolving retirement market it is also vital for market players to get a sense of customer behaviour and opinion. A recent research paper from Citizens Advice – 'Life after pension choices: Consumer reflections on pension freedoms and thoughts on the future' – provides some useful findings and recommendations in this regard and the paper can be accessed at

Looking forward to April 2017, and unless we hear anything different over the coming months, we are set fair for pension freedoms MkII in the form of the introduction of the secondary annuity market. This is a potentially controversial area but it promises to be a fascinating one and as we race towards its introduction there would still appear to be a lot of work to do in order to achieve a fully functioning market. This will impact a range of market stakeholders, including some of companies assessed by AKG, and so we have a keen interest in how the new secondary market develops. We are planning to publish a paper on the subject in the next few weeks. Please email us at if you would like to register your interest in receiving a copy of the paper when it is published.

Guy Vanner

AKG's Managing Director
Rating Activity

Life Companies, Friendly Societies & Similar Providers

AXA Wealth Ltd
Overall Financial Strength
B [Previously B+] Issued 9 Sep 2016

Dentists' Provident Society Ltd
Overall Financial Strength
B- [Previously C] Issued 17 Aug 2016

Reliance Mutual Insurance Society Ltd
Overall Financial Strength
C [Previously B-] Issued 16 Aug 2016

St. James's Place UK plc
Overall Financial Strength
B [Confirmed] Issued 21 Sep 2016

Offshore Life Companies

Generali PanEurope DAC
Overall Financial Strength
B+ [Confirmed] Issued 12 Sep 2016

Platform Operators

AXA Portfolio Services Ltd
Platform Financial Strength
B+ [Confirmed] Issued 9 Sep 2016

Discretionary Fund Managers

Smith & Williamson Investment Management LLP
DFM Financial Strength
B [New rating] Issued 17 Aug 2016

Note: This section refers solely to our Overall Financial Strength Ratings/Platform Financial Strength Ratings/DFM Financial Strength Ratings.
Report Releases

Company Profile & Financial Strength Reports

AXA Wealth
Full Report – Issued 9 Sep 2016

Dentists' Provident
Full Report – Issued 17 Aug 2016

Reliance Mutual
Short Report – Issued 16 Aug 2016

St. James's Place
Short Report – Issued 21 Sep 2016

Offshore Profile & Financial Strength Reports

Generali PanEurope
Full Report – Issued 12 Sep 2016

Platform Profile & Financial Strength Reports

Full Report – Issued 9 Sep 2016

DFM Profile & Financial Strength Reports

Smith & Williamson
Short Report – Issued 17 Aug 2016
Report Withdrawals
No reports have been withdrawn since our last Update.
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