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Just Retirement secures first deal for advice service

Just Retirement secures first deal for advice service

Closed book consolidator Phoenix Life has become the first provider partner for enhanced annuities specialist Just Retirement’s new simplified advice to service, which it will offer to retiring pension savers to offer access to a wider range of options under pension freedoms.

Phoenix Life said that this would provide customers with a wider range of products, including the ability to ‘shop around’ for standard and enhanced annuities as well as offering a drawdown pension product.

Earlier this month, Just Retirement announced it had developed a ‘simplified’ advice service, which it says is designed to help retirees with medium-sized pension funds navigate new at-retirement freedoms.

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Phoenix has now established an “introducer” arrangement with Just Retirement to provide its retiring policyholders with access to potentially higher rates available on individually underwritten guaranteed income for life solutions.

Just Retirement said that the new deal will allow retirees without a financial advisers to go through a simplified advice process which will deliver personalised recommendations about how best to deploy their pension money.

Susan McInnes, Phoenix customer director, said: “The pension reforms add new flexibility, but also new complexity for our customers and we believe that most would benefit from receiving financial advice to help them understand their options.”

While Just Retirement is the first provider to formally launch a simplified advice firm, others have discussed potentially moving into this area in the wake of pension freedoms, potentially through partnerships with advisers.

Royal London said in November last year it was mulling options for a ‘discounted’ advice option for this that fills in a perceived gap between free Treasury guidance and full advice.

Isobel Langton, chief executive of Royal London Intermediary, later revealed to FTAdviser the insurance giant is in informal discussions with advisers over an impartial service to those not sufficiently catered for by Pension Wise, with a launch likely later this year.

Meanwhile, Phoenix’s interim management statement, published today, the closed-book consolidator said it had generated £87m of cash in the three months to 31 March 2015, compared with £235m the three months to 31 March 2014.

The total holding company cash at the end of March 2015 was £1.03bn, compared with last year’s figure of £988m.

Clive Bannister, group chief executive, said: “Phoenix Group remains well placed in a changing regulatory environment. We are on track for both our Solvency II internal model application and to achieve an investment grade credit rating during 2015.

“We have successfully managed the introduction of the new pension freedoms, supporting our customers as they consider a wider range of options for their retirement provision. We remain in line to meet all our financial targets.”

ruth.gillbe@ft.com