Commbank up ante on annuities

The Commonwealth Bank has moved further into the annuities space, announcing today that it would be offering Comminsure-backed annuities products via its FirstChoice and FirstWrap platforms.

The move was confirmed by Comminsure general manager, superannuation and investments, Greg Ballard, who described it as an important milestone for the annuities industry which would allow financial advisers, for the first time, to have access to annuities via retail platforms.

The Commonwealth Bank move comes off the back of the impressive results reported by annuities specialist Challenger over the past 18 months and against the background of research conducted by Investment Trends on the market for post-retirement products.

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It also comes as the Federal Government actively considers eliminating the perceived tax barriers to annuities-type products.

According to Investment Trends Retirement Income Report, 44 per cent of pre-retirees aged 40 and over expect to outlive their retirement savings and among those who would consider investing their money in annuities, 66 per cent cited barriers to doing so.

Comminsure head of annuities, George Lytas, said that while making annuities more accessible was an important part of the company's strategy, the use of the platforms was important.

"By offering our annuities on Colonial First State's platforms we can more easily reach a wider target market, particularly advisers who are at the forefront of providing retirement advice and are essential to driving greater awareness and take up of annuities," he said.

CommInsure recently announced enhancements to its annuities offering, providing more competitive rates across its full range of annuities including short-term, long-term and lifetime income annuities and reducing the minimum investment amount to $10,000 (from $20,000).

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