One of the UK's largest pension providers has tied its future to the 'property rich, pension poor generation'.
Just, which was formed from the merger of Just Retirement and Partnership last year, plans to target people who retire with small pension savings but own property with equity release products. Such products, also known as lifetime mortgages, allow people to borrow money against the value of their home.
In the first six months of 2017 Just advanced customers £230.2 million through lifetime mortgages. In the same period last year Just advanced even more, although its figure of £321.8 million included sales from Partnership when it was a separate business.
Rodney Cook, chief executive of Just, signalled the pension provider planned to focus on lending to those reaching retirement without large pension savings.
'We expect demand for lifetime mortgages to continue to grow as increasing numbers reach retirement with greater wealth invested in housing rather than pension assets,' he said.
Just is not alone in targeting a market which was estimated to have lent £2 billion in 2016 by the Equity Release Council. In August Canada Life bought Retirement Advantage in order to offer equity release products, while existing providers such as Legal & General have recorded higher equity release sales over the past year.
Merger pays off
Elsewhere in its half year results, Just continued to see its merger with Partnership pay off.
The deal came about after the pension freedoms reduced demand for both providers' annuity products. However, the merger has improved the outlook for the business: in the first six months of 2017 it recorded a pre-tax profit of £67.2 million, compared to £48.4 million in the same period last year.
New business profits more than doubled from £31 million last year to £64 million this year.
'We have had a good start to the year and are executing our strategy to grow profits,' Cook said.