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9 March 2018 last updated
15-year gilt yield rise helps pension annuities to highest level this year
15-year gilt yields chart
Based on figures for February 2018
Latest gilt yield chart

Pension annuities have been helped to the highest level this year after 15-year gilt yields rise 39 basis points for 2018 to 1.89% with strong US inflation data before falling back to remain unchanged.

Standard rates:  
annuity rates change 3.81%
Enhanced rates:  
annuity rates change 2.60%
Gilt yields:  
annuity rates change 0 basis point

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Rising gilt yields send annuity rates higher

The 15-year gilt yield increased by 0 basis points to 1.75% during February 2018 with providers of standard annuities increasing rates by an average 3.81% for this month and we would expect rates to fall by -3.07% in the medium term if yields do not fall.

For smoker and enhanced annuity providers have increased their rates by an average of 2.60% and rates may fall by -1.84% in the medium term if yields do not fall.

Fig 1 below shows the annuity rates changes for the whole market and the proportion that have either increased, decreased or or did not change. It also shows the range of the changes of the annuity rates over the last month:

Annuity Rates Changes
Increase No change Decrease
annuity rates decrease   98%
annuity rates no change   2%
annuity rates decrease   0%
Increases of:
up to 7.8%


Decreases of:
up to -0.0%

  Fig 1: Annuity rate changes for the whole market

For the month 98% of annuity rates increased by up to 7.8% with 2% remaining unchanged and 0% decreasing.

What happened to standard rates

Below shows a fund of £100,000 with the change in standard annuity rates for single and joint pensioners from age 55 to 75 with different annuity options such as level or escalating over 1 month compared to gilt yields:

Standard annuity 1 month changes
Fig 2: Change in standard rates last month compared to gilt yields

Standard annuities increased by an average of 3.81% during the month. The largest rise was for those aged 75 based on a 50% joint life with 3% escalating rates up by as much as 7.80% for the month with no decrease for the month.

What happened to enhanced rates

Lifestyle smoker and enhanced annuities have decreased significantly across the board for all types of annuities and ages.

Enhanced annuity 1 month changes
Fig 3: Change in enhanced rates last month compared to gilt yields

For enhanced and smoker the majority of rates increased by 2.60% for the month on average. The largest rise was for those aged 75 based on a 50% joint life, level or with 3% escalating and 100% joint life on a level basis up by as much as 5.40% for the month with no decrease for the month.

For the latest updates see Annuity Rates Review.

Changes to the 15-year gilt yields

The yields change for the month from 1.75% to 1.75% or 0 basis point. Fig 2 below shows the daily 15-year gilt yields and the increase or decrease from the previous day's close:

15-Year Gilt Yields - February 2018
Day Rate (%) Change (bp*)
1 1.77 +2
2 1.79 +2
5 1.79 0
6 1.78 -1
7 1.80 +2
8 1.80 0
9 1.79 -1
12 1.83 +4
13 1.85 +2
14 1.88 +3
15 1.89 +1
16 1.82 -7
19 1.84 +2
20 1.82 -2
21 1.79 -3
22 1.79 0
23 1.78 -1
26 1.77 -1
27 1.81 +4
28 1.78 -5
  Table 1: Daily 15-year gilt yields and changes
* bp - basis points

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Annuity Rates
  Age Single Joint  
  55 £5,736 £5,481  
  60 £6,132 £5,880  
  65 £6,860 £6,462  
  70 £7,678 £7,215  
£100,000 purchase, level rates, standard
Unisex rates and joint life basis
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