The platform can now support a wide range of pension annuities, including lifetime, enhanced and lifestyle, as well as annuities purchased by a scheme pension to provide benefits to members. The product range now also includes purchased life annuities and the ability to identify and tax the interest and capital components correctly.
The features available within an annuity have also been extended. It is now possible to support joint life options, guarantee periods, protection benefits, overlap, proportional final payments, Guaranteed Minimum Pensions (GMP) benefits, lump sum funeral benefits and guardian benefits. Escalation options have been expanded and now cater for fixed rate with minimum and maximum rates and index-linked with floors and ceilings to offer greater choice over income options. Income driven annuity quotes now check the funding received is correct to support the income required and automatically refunds any surplus or requests additional money. For unit linked annuities where investments are held off system, Composer® receives the income calculation based on the investment position each month prior to making the payment to the annuitant, preventing incorrect payments.
David Simpson, Head of EMEA at GBST, comments, “Providing a guaranteed income is the number one feature consumers look for in their personal pensions according to FCA research, with almost a third (29.8%) selecting that option, followed by being able to access their pension flexibly (20.8%). We believe annuities remain an important consideration within retirement income planning, both as standalone and combined solutions, and Composer’s® new functionality will help our clients offer a wider range of annuity products and benefits. It will also make the administration and reporting around legacy products, such as GMP benefits, more efficient and cost effective.
“We can now support stand-alone annuity products and guaranteed income as an asset class on platform – which research from Milliman suggests can help enhance retirement income over bonds. This extension to Composer’s® annuity capabilities is part of our continual development process to meet the evolving needs of providers and end investors. The investment evidences our commitment to driving innovation in the retirement space to cement our position as the industry’s leading provider of retirement income solutions.”