The Cambridge Dictionary has a sentence:

They can cross-sell to the bank's existing customers and introduce life insurance and pensions products.

Pension, though a count noun, here functions as an attributive noun modifying products. Then why is it in the plural? Shouldn't attributive nouns be in the singular, such as "pension plans"? As far as I know there seem to be some exceptions where a plural noun precedes another noun to form a compound noun phrase, but pension doesn't seem to be one of them, according to Macmillan. Google suggests both pension products and pensions products are in use, the former more popular. Any chance this would be a BrE/AmE difference?

2 Answers 2


This may indeed be a British idiosyncrasy. I would consider it a typo if I read it in the US.

The only way I can think of to make sense of it is to consider "life insurance and pensions" to be a named category or department that always uses that tense. For example

that is a mergers and acquisitions product

makes sense because "mergers and acquisitions" is a single department in an investment bank and always uses the plural, even when it's used as a modifier. I could easily imagine "life insurance and pensions" to be a similar department.


I'm a speaker of AmE and wouldn't consider pensions products necessarily a typo, since we do see the plural noun adjunct fairly often, especially in the financial sector. I'd give the text the benefit of the doubt.

The SEC warns consumers that some sellers of annuities products urge customers to switch to another annuity, a practice called “churning.”

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