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Deal talks continue for resilient Just Retirement

Just Retirement has confirmed that talks are ongoing about a possible offer for the group.

The enhanced annuity and equity-release provider said in November that it had received expressions of interest and revealed in its interim results last week that an announcement will be made regarding a potential acquisition in “due course”.

Just Retirement’s annuity sales for the second half of 2008 fell by 13 per cent to £272m from the previous year. Its annuity market share fell to 4.6 per cent from 5.2 per cent in the first six months of 2008. Equity-release sales rose by nearly 11 per cent to £82m.

On a European embedded value basis, operating profit was £32m, down from £37m on the . On international financial reporting standards basis, its profit was £7.4m, up by 54 per cent.

The firm’s solvency ratio was 170 per cent at the end of the year. It has set aside 126 basis points a year to reserve against defaults on its corporate bond portfolio, worth more than £1bn.

Chief executive officer Mike Fuller says: “Our selective pricing policy has enabled us to protect annuity margins in the face of strong competition, albeit at a cost of a small and temporary reduction in sales volumes. We have been able to continue to grow our equity-release business at highly favourable margins. Despite the impact of the extraordinary economic conditions, we have been able to protect our capital position and current trading is very encouraging.”


Consolidate with destiny

The reasons behind the FSA’s desire for IFA businesses to be better capitalised, for advisers to be better qualified and for initial commission to be consigned to history have already been commented on widely in the press. Implementation of these measures, in line with last year’s retail distribution review, will undoubtedly help to professionalise and raise the esteem of the IFA industry.

DA confidential

In the next two months, the FSA will set its adviser fees for 2009/10, prompting many directly authorised mortgage brokers to re-evaluate whether to continue to go it alone or sign up to a network.

Thoresen slams FSA on access to advice

Aegon UK chief executive Otto Thoresen has criticised the FSA for failing to do more under the retail distribution review to widen access to financial advice.


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