Immediate annuities (fixed term, life expectancy) are notionally the simplest of retirement income products and the simplest to price. For intending purchasers, the issuing institution?s Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) is one of the first ports of call. An examination of a selection of immediate annuity PDSs indicates that they fall far short of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission?s requirement that a product issuer, seller, financial adviser etc. provide a retail client with ?clear, concise and effective? information to make an informed choice between similar products. For this product, a precise cost could be provided, so we ask why is the cost absent from the PDS? Given some expertise (which most retirees won?t have), the impact of any given fee structure can be assessed, but only if a current investment reference rate is supplied. As none of the PDSs we surveyed provided such a rate (or its equivalent - the effective after-fees investment rate earned by the annuity purchase price over the term of the annuity), we query whether there is misleading or deceptive conduct under Corporations Act s 1041H, Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act s 12DA, 12DB and whether the PDSs comply with the new PDS requirements fully in force from March 2004.
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