Uncertainty over the likely impact of new European gender equality rules is adding to the confusion for women making decisions about their retirement plans, research has found.
From December 21, insurers can no longer consider a customer's gender when calculating what their insurance premium or retirement income should be, following a ruling by the European Court of Justice last year.
But a lack of clarity over how the rates will affect pricing when the new rules come in is making the market more complicated for financial advisers to work out, according to Primetime Retirement.
The retirement income specialist said around six out of 10 of almost 450 advisers surveyed believe the uncertainty makes it difficult to advise female clients about lifetime annuities.
A person's sex has traditionally been taken into account when assessing their insurance risks, with women typically benefiting from lower car insurance premiums due to their lower accident rates, for example.
Men have tended to receive higher annuity rates, which set the size of their retirement income for life, due to their lower average life expectancy.
Some 44% of advisers surveyed said they expect male annuity rates to be levelled down when the changes come in, while nearly half expect providers to find a mid-point between male and female rates.
An "optimistic" 3% of advisers expect annuity providers to level rates up, researchers said.
Primetime Retirement chief executive Kim Lerche-Thomsen said: "Lifetime annuity rates are already at an all-time low and uncertainty over gender quality is adding to the difficulty for advisers and clients in making a decision."
Just over a third of advisers think annuity providers should have reacted more quickly to the changes while 41% said they had not been too slow.