39% increase in equity release at Just Retirement

Just Retirement is reporting a 39% increase in its equity release sales compared to last year.

The figures represent the year ending at the end of September this year when it sold £69.8m worth of equity release compared to £50.1m in 2009.

It also increased its annuity sales by 7.5% to £175.7m compared to £163.5m last year.

Rodney Cook, chief executive officer at Just Retirement, says: “The first quarter has been characterised by continued capital market volatility which, combined with the uncertainty created by the government’s consultation on pensions, has created a less benign trading environment than we experienced in the second half of the last financial year.

“Nevertheless, the Group has continued to benefit from the competitive advantages that its market position and commitment to service produces.”

“Sales of enhanced annuities, while a record for the Group in a first quarter, were adversely impacted by increased customer deferrals as a result of market uncertainty. Our research suggests that this was a market-wide issue and the Group has maintained its position as a top five provider of annuities and the largest provider of enhanced annuities in the UK.

He says demand for equity release mortgages remained strong as a result of the combined effects of fewer providers in the market place and the growing acceptance of the product as a logical option for retirement income planning.

He says: “During the period, I am pleased to report that Just Retirement supported the launch of the Saga equity release product. We remain convinced that this market has long term growth potential which will be become more apparent as providers with the provenance of Saga enter the market place.

”Just Retirement is committed to improving the level of knowledge of retirement income options in general and the use of the Open Market Option in particular.

“In that vein, I am delighted that the Group acquired The Open Market Annuity Service on September 30 2010. TOMAS is in the vanguard of the development of on-line annuity solutions to support financial advisers. It is important that the Group is able to support the continued evolution of this important component of the UK annuity market.