Challenger posts drop in annuity sales

Challenger reported total annuity sales down by 13 per cent to $662 million in Q3 on the prior corresponding period (pcp), with Australian annuity sales suffering from disruption in the retail financial advice market following the Royal Commission.

However, the company said that despite overall drops it saw resilience in other sectors of the advice industry with strong growth in sales by independent financial advisers (IFAs).

“Growth in IFA sales reflects the evolution of the advice industry over the past 12 months, and supports our strategy to expand our distribution reach through IFAs,” Challenger’s managing director and chief executive, Richard Howes, said.

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“We expect Challenger annuities to be launched on leading independent platforms, Hub24 and Netwealth, before the end of the financial year.”

Australian annuity sales in the third quarter stood at $607 million and were down by seven per cent on the pcp, with lifetime annuity sales going down by 27 per cent to $159 million.

At the same time, the company reported four per cent growth for its total assets under management (AUM) which stood at $81 billion, as they benefited from positive investment markets and were partially offset by net outflows of $37 million for the quarter.

Also, life investment remained unchanged for the quarter and stood at $18.6 billion at 31 March, 2019.

Challenger said that during the quarter it continued to reduce its exposure to property, with several properties expected to settle during the fourth quarter.

As far as the future outlook was concerned, the firm reaffirmed the guidance provided in February for normalised profit before tax to be between $545 million and $565 million in FY 19.

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