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Annuity rate declines continues to hit pension pots

Annuity rates are continuing to plummet, putting the retirement pots of hundreds of thousands of pensioners at risk.

This week annuity rates hit new low lows, with Standard Life slashing its annuity rates by 5%, reducing the income from a £100,000 pension pot by £250 a year.

The last 20 years has seen a steady decline in annuity rates, with some attributing this downturn to the fact that as life expectancy rates increase insurers have had to guard against paying out over a growing number of years.  The Bank of England’s successive rounds of quantative easing (QE), totalling some £375bn, which were designed to pump money into the UK’s ailing economy, are also said to have played a part in falling annuity rates.

Joanne Segars, chief executive of the National Association of Pension Funds, supports the idea that QE has hit pension funds hard. She said:

“The economists might argue about whether QE works, but there is no doubt that it short-changes businesses running final salary pensions, and people who are about to retire.

“QE worsens the yield on gilts, which increases the deficits of final salary pension funds and means people get a worse rate on their annuity. Those who are retiring could be locked into a weaker pension for the rest of their days.”

Experts have calculated that a £100,000 pension fund at the start of the nineties would guarantee an annual income of £15,640 for life. Two decades later this figure has reduced dramatically, with a 65-year-old man able to secure an annual figure of just £5,140 a year.

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