GC14/1 Annuity Comparison Websites – Thematic Review and Guidance for Firms

This proposed guidance relates to the following rules in the FCA Handbook: 

  • COBS 4.2.1.R, COBS 4.5.2.R, COBS 4.5.7.R and Principle 7 of the FCA Principles for Businesses.

The full guidance:  

GC14/1 Annuity Comparison Websites

This guidance is likely to be of most relevance to operators of annuity comparison websites and annuity providers.

Background to this consultation

We carried out a thematic review of 13 annuity comparison websites to assess whether they were fair, clear and not misleading, in accordance with our rules. In conducting our reviews we identified a number of common issues.  We found good practice in the presentation of alternative options to buying an annuity, such as deferring or pension drawdown, and the use of jargon-free language. All of the websites reviewed raised concerns, however, with key information and risk warnings often missing or insufficiently prominent.

We believe that this guidance will make clear our expectations of firms’ and improve the level of compliance across the sector, level the playing field for firms and ultimately lead to better consumer outcomes.

Summary of the key issues

The proposed guidance sets out what we would expect to see on annuity comparison websites to ensure that they are fair, clear and not misleading.

Cost benefit analysis 

A CBA is not included in this consultation as the proposed guidance follows predictably from existing rules. The Chief Economist Department has confirmed this is an appropriate reason for not doing a CBA for this type of guidance. 

We invite your views on our thematic review and proposed guidance to firms.

Please respond by 14 March 2014 

Please email your responses to[email protected]

Or send your responses to:

Nicholas Butler
Financial Promotions Team
The Financial Conduct Authority
25 The North Colonnade
London E14 5HS

Telephone: 020 7066 4356