UK – Robert Morfee, a partner at law firm Clarke Willmott & Clarke, has launched a campaign against UK law that obliges women to buy annuities, suggesting that it is discriminatory and could be in breach of European and human rights legislation.

Morfee says he is hoping to get enough support from women nearing retirement in order to mount a class action against what he calls “the last bastion of differential pay.”

The current system means that people with money purchase pensions must use the majority of the saved money to buy an annuity from an insurance company, which then provides an annual pension.

The problem is that income from the annuities is based on mortality tables and, since they live longer, women get a lower pension, such that, for £16,000 a man can expect £1,320 p.a., whereas a woman would get some 8% less at £1,220.
“It will force a fundamental shake-up of the pensions industry as it now stands and give women far greater options,” says Morfee.