“Many players have chosen to offer products where the risk sits with the customers. Such products are appropriate for some customers, but for those who wish and need a guarantee, we want to stand for them.”
The inconsistencies in annuity sales in the wider market post pension freedoms are juxtaposed by the burgeoning equity release market, which has soared to a new high of £2.15bn in 2016 – a year-on-year increase of 26 per cent, according to the latest ‘Equity release market monitor’ from Key Retirement.
The growth rate of JRP’s lifetime mortgage advances of 27 per cent to £465m – again on a pro forma basis – exceeded that of GlfL sales.
Inertia of equity release is among a number of headwinds that are preventing the market from reaching its potential, according to Mr Turner.
A number of industry figures have called for the creation of a standalone equity release qualification to allow pension and investment advisers to sell the products without having to qualify as mortgage advisers.
He said: “Growing distribution is an important part of how we grow the market. Getting more advisers qualified to sell equity release products is a good thing. Bringing together advice that focuses on all of the options available at retirement and in retirement is important for clients.”
Product innovation, which was widely expected to fill the gap left by annuities, is yet to come to fruition, but Mr Turner questioned whether there was a need for new solutions.
He said: “When we talk to our customers, their needs haven’t changed. They want security, they want peace of mind, they want to know that their money will not run out, and some want to leave a legacy to their family.
“What has changed is their access to advice and the complexity of the choices that face them. We are working on ideas to provide a solution to that: it might be a referral system. We do not have anything to put on the table today, but we are in deep conversation with a number of groups.”
This is not to say Just will not launch new products. Mr Turner did not disclose specific details and expected release dates, but he said bells and whistles when it comes to new retirement solutions is not the answer.
Myron Jobson is features writer at Financial Adviser
April 2016 - present: Managing director, retirement lending, international and group development, Just
2014 - 2016: Group director, business development, Just Retirement
2010 - 2014: Director, division globals, Swiss Re
2008 - 2010: Principal officer, Singapore branch, head of life and health, Southeast Asia, Swiss Re
2006 - 2008: Chief underwriter, Asia-Pacific, Swiss Re