Competition watchdog approves Just Retirement/Partnership merger

Cook-Rodney.Just-Retirement.2013

Just Retirement and Partnership’s proposed merger has moved a step closer after the UK Competition and Markets Authority cleared the deal.

The providers, both of whom saw their share price hammered in the wake of Chancellor George Osborne’s Budget bombshell in April 2014, announced the merger in August.

However, advisers raised concerns the deal could be bad for savers because it would diminish annuity pricing competition.

Despite this, the CMA has approved the merger, which is set to complete in December once it has been ratified by the Prudential Regulation Authority and the FCA.

Just Retirement chief executive Rodney Cook will lead the combined business, with Partnership boss Steve Groves leaving the firm on completion.

Just Retirement shareholders will own roughly 60 per cent of the business, while Partnership shareholders will control the remaining 40 per cent.

Just Retirement says the deal will eventually result in annual savings of at least £40m – approximately one-third of the combined cost base of the two firms. Part of this saving will come from “the removal of duplicate quotes, sales and pricing activity for annuities”.