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Just boosts staff numbers on bullish outlook for annuities

Just Group has added another 45 staff over the last year, its latest accounts reveal.

The pension provider increased its average number of staff from 1,091 in 2017 to 1,136 in 2018.

While senior management staff numbers crept up from 116 to 120, three fewer staff were present at the director level, falling from 12 to 9.

This led to a reduction in total director pay from £5.7m to £4.4m. However,tThe aggregate net value of share awards granted to the directors in 2018 was £2.7m, compared with £2.3m the year before.

Two directors exercised share options during the year with an combined gain of £5,000. In 2017, two directors also exercised options, but the aggregate gain was only £1,700.

For the company as a whole, the wage and salary bill for 2018 came in at £96.6m, up from £90.3m.

Just notes that new rules introduced in March 2018 by the FCA requiring providers to show customers the best annuity quotes available in the market could present a boost for the firm.

The firm’s annual report reads: “This should provide new opportunities for Just as we compete in the open market when these customers
choose to shop around; this is our addressable market as we do not have an existing base of pension savings customers.

“The structural drivers of growth in the retirement income market are strong and assets accumulating in defined contribution pension schemes are projected to increase consistently over the next decade.

“Growth in defined contribution pension assets also arises as companies close down final salary or defined benefit pension schemes and
offer their employees defined contribution pensions instead.

“Thousands of people are transferring out of DB pension schemes into DC pension schemes to take advantage of pension freedoms. When transferring, many people are choosing to secure a guaranteed income for life, by using some of the transfer value to purchase an individually underwritten guaranteed income for life.”

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