Warren Page is the Chief Executive Officer of Towergate Financial. He joined as COO in January 2012, from a previous role as Director of Client Services at another independent advisory business where he led the UK-wide client-facing team. Warren has over 25 years of experience working within financial services in various roles, including consultancy, advisory, proposition development and leadership. He is a qualified advisor and has significant experience in building, developing and leading national advisory teams.

The Important Essentials
As your employees approach retirement, they will most likely have built up pension funds from one or more employer pension schemes or private pension plans (go to GoodwinBarrett.co.uk for details), which can be used to provide an income in retirement. It is often assumed that the move from saving for retirement to accessing pension income happens automatically, but there are a number of important decisions that your employees need to make to convert their pension funds into pension income and to ensure that they benefit from the highest level of income available.

Government estimates for the UK show that life expectancy for people aged 65 in 2013 will be:

• around 86 for men
• around 89 for women.

Source: Office for National Statistics – cohort figures 2010

In addition, an estimated 1.4 million people currently aged 51-65 are now likely to reach 100 years old*, which means your employees could be living on their retirement income for many years. It is therefore important that they make the right choices.

Are you aware of the open market option?

The Open Market Option is something your employees should be aware of before purchasing an annuity. The Open Market Option gives consumers the right to shop around before buying an annuity or any other retirement income product. All employees should compare what their current pension provider will offer against the open market.

Health and lifestyle factors

Not only are there huge differences between the incomes that different providers will offer your employees, but several health and lifestyle factors can also affect the income received. Some providers may give your employees a higher income if they fall into certain medical and lifestyle categories, such as being a smoker or having high blood pressure. It is vital that your employees investigate whether or not they may be entitled to an enhancement to their income due to these reasons.

Why use Optimum?
Optimum is a service that Towergate Financial provides to search the whole of the open market and investigate health and lifestyle factors, in order to find employees the very best retirement income. The service can guarantee that employees won’t be worse off and is already helping many clients improve the annuity they receive, due to health and lifestyle factors alone. It makes a huge difference. The average increase we achieved in the last three months of 2012 was 31%*, and in one case alone we managed to double a client’s retirement income. We believe that’s not to be sniffed at.

So how does Optimum work?

• 12 months before retirement we send employees a personalised letter introducing the service and what they can expect over the next year.

• Six months before retirement each employee receives a personalised pre-retirement report.

• Optimum helps employees find the best possible enhancements due to health and lifestyle factors.

• The service can be accessed either face-to-face, by telephone or self-select, depending on the complexity and needs of the employee.

All this comes at absolutely no cost to employers. We feel it is an essential service that can only improve employee satisfaction and maximise the care all good employers display for their employees.

Info: 08455 051051 or email optimum@towergate.co.uk

*Source: Department for Work and Pensions. Number of Future Centenarians by Age Group – April 2011