AKG assesses and rates companies and other entities within specific peer groups or sectors. Such peer groups are fundamentally designed to reflect how customers and their advisers consider companies for use.
Companies in this peer group include long term insurance companies and friendly societies, but also encompass other entities which are also involved in the provision of financial products and wrappers such as pensions, packaged savings and investments, annuities, protection and some medical/healthcare offerings.
The sector was previously known as the “Life Companies, Friendly Societies & Similar Providers Peer Group”, with this now being abbreviated to “Provider”. However, whilst the name has been abbreviated, the sector remains the same in terms of its constituent peer group and comparative assessment.
This peer group excludes simple deposit-based saving available from bank and building society entities and specific fund management. It should also be noted that this peer group is separate from other peer groups assessed and rated by AKG, such as Platform Operators or Offshore Life Companies.
A number of different types of organisation therefore compete with one another in the market for these products or propositions referred to above as included in this peer group. Data shown in these reports will therefore necessarily exhibit certain differences by entity type. However, AKG undertakes assessment of this data and other information, within this peer group, on a consistent basis. This leads to comparable assessment conclusions as well as comparable ratings.
The sector is focussed on companies authorised and regulated in the UK and operating in the UK market. This also includes branch operations of overseas companies established and operating in the UK.
As a result of AKG’s underlying focus on how customers and their advisers use companies, together with the fact that companies (individual corporate entities) can establish activity in different areas, it is possible that they will need to be assessed in more than one sector.
Thus the same individual corporate entity may be rated once in one particular sector context or peer group and then again in another.
This approach delivers ratings on a sector by sector basis, that is more reflective of customer and adviser focused comparison.
Care should be taken by users in considering the appropriate sector and therefore rating when this occurs. For example a single company might be used as a platform operator, but also itself act as the provider of a SIPP product wrapper. When considering that company in the delivery of the platform, then the rating given by AKG within its Platform rating sector should be used. However, when considering that same company for use in the delivery of the SIPP product wrapper (i.e. for accepting this business as a product provider), then the rating given by AKG within its Provider rating sector should be used.
This rating sector peer group originated AKG’s financial strength rating activity some 30 years ago. Then it was almost entirely comprised of life companies, who competed with one another in the intermediated sales channel, distinct from any other types of provider.
However, since then different types of provider companies have increasingly competed with one another and more and more entities have had to be considered by intermediaries, either as potential new business providers for their clients, or within reviews of existing arrangements. Thus to remain in line with how customers and their advisers need to consider the range of providers available to them and reflective of how the market has changed, this sector peer group has evolved in recent years. Most recently in 2014 with the addition of non life company SIPP providers. The sector constituents are subject to ongoing review.
The ratings for this sector peer group are available in the AKG Rating Portal. More detailed assessment information and background together with ratings are available for many companies in reports within the Provider Financial Strength Assessment Reports series (the report series which corresponds to this sector peer group), which are available for Purchase online or by Contacting AKG.
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