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AKG Update Issue 23
28 June 2016
Referendum Comment

It would be fair to say that we are all still getting to grips with the magnitude of the referendum decision for the UK to leave the European Union (EU).

It will be just as difficult to sift through the post-vote noise, as it was the pre-vote noise, in terms of getting clarity on what exactly is going to unfold. One thing that is clear is that there will be a period of political, economic and investment market turbulence and hence ongoing uncertainty is anticipated.

In general terms this uncertainty and volatility in the economic landscape, across which financial services organisations operate, is unwelcome. This puts varying degrees of pressure on the strategic position and consequently potentially the operational and capital positions of these organisations.

Whilst currently it is far too early to attempt to fully ascertain these effects, within a fluid environment of ‘knock on’ actions, this changed background will certainly be a feature of financial strength rating assessment over the coming year. AKG will therefore endeavour to engage in dialogue with companies across our assessment sectors in order to appraise their positioning and response to the forthcoming EU departure.

Guy Vanner

AKG's Managing Director
AKG Retirement Proposition Reviews

Since the publication of our Pension Freedoms paper in July 2015 (direct link here for those who have not yet read this), AKG has continued to closely monitor retirement market developments. Given AKG’s core focus on company assessments we have been, and remain so, keen to assess strategic developments in this area from key market stakeholders.

We do however also carry out bespoke reviews of products and propositions as part of our wider services to the market. In recent times we have been commissioned by both Royal London and Partnership to independently assess and review new solutions in the retirement market. There reports are written with an adviser audience in mind.

Royal London has recently launched a new Drawdown Governance Service for use within financial planning businesses and the AKG review of this new drawdown focused service can be accessed here.

AKG has also assessed the Partnership Enhanced Retirement Account, Partnership’s hybrid annuity/drawdown product, which was launched in response to the pension freedoms changes. AKG’s review of this product can be accessed here.

Please let us know if you would like to see any other areas of the retirement market covered in greater detail by AKG.

Matt Ward

AKG's Head of Communications
Rating Activity

Life Companies, Friendly Societies & Similar Providers

Aberdeen Asset Management Life and Pensions Ltd
Overall Financial Strength
B- [Confirmed] Issued 10 Jun 2016

Guardian Assurance Ltd
Overall Financial Strength
B [Confirmed] Issued 17 Jun 2016

ReAssure Ltd
Overall Financial Strength
B [Confirmed] Issued 17 Jun 2016

The Equitable Life Assurance Society
Overall Financial Strength
B- [Confirmed] Issued 17 Jun 2016

Platform Operators

Alliance Trust Savings Limited
Platform Financial Strength
B [Confirmed] Issued 13 Jun 2016

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

Company Profile & Financial Strength Reports

Aberdeen Life
Short Report – Issued 10 Jun 2016

Equitable Life
Short Report – Issued 17 Jun 2016

Guardian Financial Services
Short Report – Issued 17 Jun 2016

Short Report – Issued 17 Jun 2016

Platform Profile & Financial Strength Reports

Alliance Trust Savings
Full Report – Issued 13 Jun 2016
Report Withdrawals
No reports have been withdrawn since our last Update.
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