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AKG Update Issue 16
11 January 2016
 
Happy New Year from AKG

With batteries refreshed we emerge into what promises to be another fascinating year in financial services. Happy New Year!

From an AKG perspective we expect to see different forms of activity across all of our existing rating sectors – Life Companies, Friendly Societies & Similar Providers, Offshore Life Companies and Platform Operators – and through our assessment work we look forward to seeing how profiled companies continue to tackle the seemingly constant change in today’s market.

There is a long list of considerations in terms of things which might impact on profiled companies with some of the key items being Solvency II implementation (finally), SIPP Capital Adequacy framework implementation and emerging ideas and policy from the Financial Advice Market Review. We also continue to monitor post pension freedoms behaviour and developments as the retirement income market seeks to grasp the ‘new normal’. What struck us initially here, and continues to do so, is the wide ranging impact of the pension changes resulting in challenges and opportunities for companies operating across all of our rating sectors as well as stakeholders in the provision of guidance, advice, planning etc.

We are also excited about the emergence of a new AKG rating sector in 2016. More details about this body of work will follow over the coming months but please look out for further development updates. Our initial focus in this new sector, driven by interest from our clients, will be the assessment of some Discretionary Fund Management groups.

We look forward to another year of working with our wide range of clients across the financial services market.

All the best for 2016, Guy

Guy Vanner

AKG's Managing Director
Buy AKG’s With Profits Reports online

AKG’s 2015 UK Life Office With Profits Reports were launched on 14th December and can be purchased online at www.akg.co.uk for £1,950 plus VAT.

These reports are designed to assist advisers and other analysts to assess the relative merits of specific with profits funds. The aim is to provide comprehensive, structured and consistent information, accompanied by AKG's key analytical assessments of with profits financial strength, future performance and transparency.

The reports provide an invaluable resource for intermediaries who are advising clients in the selection of with profits providers for new policies. Advice for in-force clients should be just as robust as it is for new business. Indeed evaluating existing with profits funds is an important part of an adviser's job and AKG's reports provide a wealth of relevant information and assessments.

Each individual report provides information on the structure and operation of a provider's with profits fund(s). It also highlights the various risks borne by with profits policyholders and concludes with AKG's long established Ratings for With Profits Financial Strength, With Profits Future Performance and With Profits Transparency.

The reports contain analysis and assessments of 185 sub-funds within 72 funds within 30 firms that will be active in the UK market at the end of December 2015 (from 26 different groups). A number of comparative industry-wide tables are also included, covering a range of key metrics.

Please click here if you would like to view a table of contents for the reports, including confirmation of fund coverage.

If you have any queries about the reports please contact us.

Matt Ward

AKG's Head of Communications
Rating Activity

Life Companies, Friendly Societies & Similar Providers

Baillie Gifford Life Ltd
Overall Financial Strength
B- [Previously B] Issued 23 Dec 2015

Financial Assurance Company Ltd
Overall Financial Strength
B- [Confirmed] Issued 24 Dec 2015

Halifax Life Ltd
Overall Financial Strength
Rating withdrawn 7 Jan 2016 [Previously B]

Prudential Assurance Company Ltd
Overall Financial Strength
A [Confirmed] Issued 18 Dec 2015

Prudential Pensions Ltd
Overall Financial Strength
A [Confirmed] Issued 18 Dec 2015

Prudential Retirement Income Ltd
Overall Financial Strength
A [Confirmed] Issued 18 Dec 2015

St Andrew's Life Assurance plc
Overall Financial Strength
Rating withdrawn 7 Jan 2016 [Previously B]

Zurich Assurance Ltd
Overall Financial Strength
B+ [Confirmed] Issued 21 Dec 2015

Offshore Life Companies

Aegon Ireland plc
Overall Financial Strength
B+ [Confirmed] Issued 23 Dec 2015

Generali International Ltd
Overall Financial Strength
Rating withdrawn 4 Jan 2016 [Previously B]

LCL International Life Assurance Company Ltd
Overall Financial Strength
C [Confirmed] Issued 4 Jan 2016

Platform Operators

Aegon Investment Solutions Ltd
Platform Financial Strength
B [Confirmed] Issued 24 Dec 2015

Aviva Wrap UK Ltd
Platform Financial Strength
B+ [Confirmed] Issued 23 Dec 2015

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

Company Profile & Financial Strength Reports

Baillie Gifford
Short Report – Issued 23 Dec 2015

Genworth
Short Report – Issued 24 Dec 2015

Prudential
Full Report – Issued 18 Dec 2015

Zurich
Full Report – Issued 21 Dec 2015

Offshore Profile & Financial Strength Reports

Aegon
Full Report – Issued 23 Dec 2015

Platform Profile & Financial Strength Reports

Aegon Retirement Choices
Short Report – Issued 24 Dec 2015

Aviva Platform
Full Report – Issued 23 Dec 2015
Report Withdrawals

Offshore Profile & Financial Strength Reports

LCL
Short Report – Withdrawn 4 Jan 2016
Useful Links
The AKG website provides access to a range of information about our processes and services.
In each of our AKG Updates we will seek to help you learn more about us.

Click here if you would like to learn more about AKG Ratings and to gain access to our Ratings Guides.
 
B&CE report issued
AKG has carried out an assessment of financial strength and corporate profile for the B&CE Group of Companies (trading as B&CE and including The People’s Pension). The output from this assessment was issued on 23rd October 2015 and replaces in its entirety AKG’s previous report dated February 2014.

The latest report can be downloaded at www.akg.co.uk.
Contacting AKG
Call us on +44 (0)1306 876439 for more information on any aspect of AKG ratings, reports and services.

Click here to email us and please visit our website www.akg.co.uk