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Just Retirement annuity sales up 87%

Just Retirement annuity sales soared 87 per cent in the three months to March 31 to £238.6m up from £127.5m for the same period last year.

But the firm’s equity release sales fell 8.6 per cent to £34.2m compared to £37.4m for the first three months of 2009. Overall, new business sales increased 65 per cent.

For the nine months to March 31, the firm saw a 47 per cent increase in annuity sales, to £588m compared with £399.6m for the previous year. Meanwhile, equity release business saw a 10 per cent rise for the nine months to March 31, to £131m up from £119.2m.

Chief executive Mike Fuller says the firm’s third quarter sales are the strongest since the group commenced business.

He says: “The growth in sales was achieved as a result of a combination of factors, including increased overall annuity market activity helped by steadily increasing stock market values. Just Retirement has also noted a further improvement in the awareness and understanding of enhanced annuities by IFAs. Finally, Just Retirement has benefited from a competitive rate position. These factors continue to provide growth opportunities for the Group in this market.

“Equity release sales in the quarter were affected by seasonal factors and a decision, late in 2009, to dampen demand for a temporary period. This was based on Just Retirement’s desire to grow the market for draw-down mortgages rather than over-participate within the “max cash” arena. As the Group’s recent interim results highlighted, profitability within equity release remains robust and I am confident that sales will return to their previous upward trend.”

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