Under the terms of the Directive, it is illegal to discriminate on the grounds of gender. Now if you happen to be a man about to purchase an annuity with your pension pot, you would currently get a better pension than a woman of the same age. That is because women tend to live longer, and so their pensions are paid for longer, and the actuaries who work these things out give men larger annuities on the basis they won't survive as long.
One of the implications of the EU Gender Directive is that insurance rates have to be offered to men and women on equal terms, and this all starts on the 21 December 2012. Believe it or not, this client who came to see my colleague will be 60 on 20 December 2012, the day before this change, and I should point out is male. After taking careful advice he will be purchasing his annuity on 20 December.
Now the chances are that many readers will not similarly have a pension age birthday on 20 December this year, but, if readers are thinking of taking their pension, don't ignore the effect of these provisions - and take careful advice!