Stopping short: why do so many consumers stop contributing to long-term savings policies?

Publication type

Research Paper

Series Number



FSA Occasional Paper Series


Publication date

January 1, 2004


With a move away from up-front charges following the introduction of stakeholder pensions, consumers are no longer penalised for lapsing on many long-term savings policies. Nevertheless, persistency rates may still provide an (imperfect) indicator of sales quality and provide some information on how consumers are building up savings for the longer-term. Furthermore, persistency is an increasingly important issue for financial providers and the profitability of stakeholder-friendly products. This paper uses aggregate persistency data and survey data from the British Household Panel Survey to address three key questions: What drives persistency rates among different groups in the population? To what extent does non-persistency appear to reflect poor sales and advice, rather than events in consumers’ lives that were not predictable at the time of sale? Are there any messages that could be given to the industry or to consumers to help raise levels of persistency?





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