Annuity sales continue to decline with hybrid products becoming increasingly popular

Oliver Gill
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According to experts, Britons prefer to have money in their pockets now rather than a steady income stream (Source: Getty)

Annuity sales continued to fall in the first quarter of 2016 as pensioners took advantage of an increasing number of new products to fund their retirement.

Enhanced annuity product sales fell from £357m in the final quarter of 2015 to £254m.

"There are a number of new hybrid products [on offer] that allow people to put retirement money into one product that is still sufficiently flexible," said Jeremy Nurse of Willis Towers Watson, who compile the information.

Following changes to the rules of annuities in April 2015 an increasing number of people have taken up the option to access a lump sum from their pension.

Nurse explained that recent research has shown that – despite being financially counter-intuitive – people prefer to take a lump sum now rather than receive money over a longer period of time.

This is even though putting the lump sum into a bank account is unlikely to attract a material rate of interest at the present. The new hybrid products are a reaction to this.

Nevertheless there was hope for annuity providers as the rate of decline had abated.

"The last three sets of quarterly results provide a broader picture that suggests the rate of decline may now be slowing and some stability returning to the annuities market,” said Nurse.

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