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Just Retirement records enhanced annuity increase

Just Retirement recorded a 1.3 per cent dip in full year sales for its annuity and equity release business, but saw strong enhanced annuity sales for the last quarter.

In the 12 months to the end of June sales totalled £753.7m, down from £763.5m last year.

Full year annuity sales dropped 2.5 per cent to £590.8m compared to £604.5m in 2007/8, while full year equity release advances were up 2.5 per cent to £162.9m.

But sales of enhanced annuities for the fourth quarter hit £191.2m, a 33 per cent increase on the previous year’s £143.8m, while fourth quarter sales for equity release dropped 9 per cent from £48m last year to £43.7 this year.

Total sales for the fourth quarter hit £234.9m, up 22 per cent from £191.8m last year.

Just Retirement chief executive Mike Fuller says: “It is very pleasing to report such a strong fourth quarter performance from the group. This performance is a validation of the profit-focused strategy we have been operating throughout the last year, during which we have concentrated on maximising returns to shareholders rather than matching irrational rates from our competitors.

“Whilst equity release mortgage advances in the final quarter show a year-on-year decline, this is against a relatively difficult current background, impacted by valuation issues in the wider housing market and a strong comparative quarter.”

Looking forward, Fuller says: “Current trading remains strong and, notwithstanding that the summer months are typically a slower period for sales, I would expect to report growth in total sales compared to the corresponding quarter last year.”

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