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Firing Line Paul Turner

Firing Line Paul Turner

Just, the overarching brand encompassing Just Retirement and Partnership Assurance, aims to stand out from the crowd beyond its distinctive coral-pink colour pallet, according to Paul Turner.

However, the managing director of retirement lending, international and group development explains there is a scientific underpinning for the colour selection.

He said: “Our colour scheme has a triple-A accessibility score. Black or white on the coral pallet provides a strong cut, which can be particularly helpful for our customers who are in later life.”

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The £1.4bn merger of Just Retirement and Partnership in summer 2016 helped to shore up the business against the major changes in the way savers access their pensions.

Mr Turner said: “Our businesses were very similar – we were not bringing together an Aviva and a Friends Life, for example. Every business has its own way of doing things, but our businesses share the same ethos of championing better outcomes for customers. Now is the time to move forward under a new culture.”

The firm will continue to write all existing products with the Just Retirement and Partnership branding, under the guise of ‘Just’. Existing policyholders will be made aware of the change, Mr Turner said.

Both Just Retirement and Partnership’s annuity rates took a battering by the sweeping reforms to pensions unveiled in the 2014 Budget. The former recorded a 56 per cent fall in annuity sales in a year to June 2015, while the latter said sales had halved during 2015.

Mr Turner accurately points to a slight resurgence in sales of annuities in the final quarter of 2015 where sales outpaced that of drawdown, according to ABI figures. However, annuity sales fell in the ensuing quarter, with £950m invested in the period to March, compared with £1.1bn in the previous quarter.

In its interim management statement for the quarter ending 30 September 2016, JRP Group – the previous name of Just – reported a 12 per cent increase in the sale of guaranteed income for life products (GIfL) to £604m on a pro forma basis.

Mr Turner said: “We have been very happy with our success in the market. We see the annuity market growing from the base of where we are today driven by demography, more people coming to the open market and the need for secure income. 

“Some people may not wish to secure their income at age 65, but they might do so 10 years down the line after a life-changing event.”

Rivals LV cited a growing demand for flexible retirement income solutions and fixed-term annuities as the main reasons behind its withdrawal from the annuity market – announced in November last year.

The move meant that the lender will continue to offer standard annuities and now enhanced annuities – the only product in the sector it sold – from other providers.

But Just will not follow suit, Mr Turner said, adding: “Guarantees are fundamental to our business. We believe many customers want and value the guarantees in our products.