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Just Retirement annuity sales fall 13 per cent

Just Retirement’s annuity sales dropped 13 per cent to £127.5m in the three months to March, 31.

The firm’s equity release new business increased slightly from £37.1m to £37.4m in the third quarter.

Total sales were 11 per cent down on the same quarter last year, to £164.9m.

Just retirement’s capital solvency ratio is estimated at 150 per cent of the minimum requirement. The firm is in the process of rebalancing its investment portfolio back towards corporate bonds after switching to gilts last year.

The firm expects fourth quarter sales to exceed £200m with record annuity sales. It is looking to increasing its workforce by 10 per cent over the next couple of months to deal with the influx of applications.

Chief executive Mike Fuller says: “As previously indicated, sales for the third quarter of our financial year are lower than the corresponding period last year. Given the lead times from quotation to completion on our products, this is a further reflection of our profit-focused strategy which delivered the resilience in profitability that we reported in the first half.

“Current trading is strong with annuity application and quotation activity at record levels. This has been achieved without having to compromise our profit-focused strategy. We therefore expect total sales for the fourth quarter to exceed £200m for the first time, with annuity sales at record levels and equity release business making steady progress from the level achieved in the third quarter.

“Overall, Just Retirement goes into the final quarter of its financial year with confidence. We have maintained our leadership position in enhanced annuities and our place as a top three provider of equity release mortgages. That this was all achieved against a highly challenging background is a testament to the robustness of the business model and the calibre of our people. I remain confident in the outlook for the current financial year.”

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