Just Group is planning to launch a fully advised online financial planning service targeted at savers who are approaching retirement with only a modest pension pot, in a move to close the advice gap.
According to Just’s results for the year ended December 31, 2019, published this morning (March 12), the service will offer people the chance to receive regulated financial advice without having to pay the costs associated with a traditional financial adviser.
Another service it plans to launch in 2020 will provide investors who manage their portfolios on investment platforms the chance to receive a guaranteed income.
Just stated: “We are piloting two exciting developments in 2020; one is to help close the financial advice gap for people in middle Britain with more modest pension savings; and the second is a highly innovative solution to deliver guaranteed income to retail investors who manage their portfolios on modern investment platforms.”
Just is currently undergoing cost cuts to its business as part of its plans to achieve capital self-sufficiency by 2022.
During 2019 the group said it chose to write less new business in order to reduce capital strain and achieve its 2022 goal.
Due to this, retirement income sales dropped by 12 per cent, from £2.2bn in 2018 to £1.9bn in 2019.
Across the group new business operating profit decreased by 5 per cent from £243m in 2018 to £182m in 2019.
Drawdown sales halved to £26.7m in the year (2018: £51m) as Just’s flexible pension plan was closed to new business from July 2019, with existing customers being migrated to a third party platform.
Acquisition costs have decreased from £52m in 2018 to £35m in 2019, which the company said was a result of the planned reduction in volumes of retirement income sales.
Throughout 2019, the company simplified its senior management structure and business processes in order to make long-term savings.
According to the results, this has resulted in a 10 per cent reduction in recurring core management expenses, with a total saving of £16m.
Along with its results, Just announced that Chris Gibson-Smith is to retire from his position as chairman as soon as his successor is found.
Mr Gibson-Smith was appointed chairman in April 2016 having previously served as chairman of Partnership Assurance Group from May 2013.
He said: "It has been an honour to chair Just Group since its creation. Having overseen a transformational merger, navigated significant regulatory change and overseen the appointment of a new team of executive directors, now is the right time for me to move on.”
In September 2019, Just appointed David Richardson as chief executive on a permanent basis.
He replaced Rodney Cook, who in April announced he would step down to plan for his retirement.
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