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LV's annuity business benefits from uncertainty

LV's annuity business benefits from uncertainty

Mutual insurer LV saw its fixed term annuity sales grow by 16 per cent in 2018, due to Brexit and market uncertainty.

Clive Bolton, who recently joined the firm as managing director of its life and pensions division, told FTAdviser savers were more inclined to take a lower risk strategy due to prevailing uncertainty.

New business in this segment stood at £137m at the end of 2018, up 16 per cent on the £118m written in the previous year.

He said: "We've got Europe potentially going into recession, the UK has its own uncertainties around Brexit, so people are looking at something as precious as their pensions."

According to LV's annual report published today (March 21), its life businesses had an operating profit of £60m, the same as in the previous year, and overall new business sales were down 13 per cent to £1.8bn.

Pensions new business fell because of dwindling defined benefit to defined contribution pension transfers, the company stated.

Mr Bolton said there had been a gradual reduction in pension transfers since they peaked at the beginning of 2018.

He said: "There are a limited number of people who are suitable, there's little money being accumulated in DB, and the critical yields have changed. It is still a substantial component, but not in the same size as it was beforehand."

He declined to disclose any figures on pension transfers inflows, however.

Meanwhile, LV saw strong growth in equity release, up 77 per cent to £211m, while the income from its retirement advice service grew 6 per cent year on year.

This was driven largely by its largest corporate partner Reassure, and reflected LV’s belief that "anyone should have access to affordable advice as this leads to better outcomes for customers", the mutual stated.

maria.espadinha@ft.com