UK - Advisers have welcomed plans to introduce a compulsory code of practice for insurers which is designed to encourage consumers to shop around for an appropriate annuity when they approach retirement.
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) initiative will mean ABI members must remove the annuity application form in communications they send to their customers.
It said this will stop consumers from automatically rolling over their pension savings to an annuity with their current provider.
The ABI added the new code will ensure customers receive all the information they need to shop around in one easily accessible place.
Clive Balchin, director at Lancashire-based James Trickett & Son, said the initiative was a "step in the right direction".
"This is excellent news. Shopping around for an annuity is extremely important, particularly for people who may be better off with an impaired life annuity."
Impaired or enhanced life annuities can provide a higher-than-normal income if the plan holder has a health problem.
The ABI said most consumers receive an application form for an annuity from their existing provider as part of the communication pack posted to them in the run-up to their retirement date.
Many individuals - the ABI estimates about a third - simply complete and sign the form and send it back to their existing provider, rather than shop around for a better deal.
Gary Shaughnessy, UK managing director at Fidelity Worldwide Investments, said the ABI code represented "a huge step forward.
"With 60% of annuities being purchased from the incumbent insurer and only 1% of these being enhanced annuities, we see huge potential for individuals to radically improve their retirement income by shopping around."
Maggie Craig (pictured), ABI director of life and savings, said: "[We believe] all consumers should shop around to maximise the income from their pension savings.
"However, not enough people shop around currently. This new industry initiative has been developed to make a significant difference to people's retirement outcomes."
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