Challenger posts strong result

Challenger has announced record flows into its annuities products, at the same time announcing a 180 per cent increase in net profit after tax to $417 million for the year ended 30 June, 2013.

In what Challenger chief executive Brian Benari has described as a "pivotal year", the company said total assets under management had risen by 34 per cent to $44.8 billion.

"Our funds management business is growing strongly and profitably from the solid foundations laid over the last few years, while our annuities business continues to prosper as baby boomers retire and seek security and regular income," Benari said.

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The company's announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange said total annuity product sales had increased 18 per cent to $3.1 billion, comprised of a 12 per cent rise in retail sales to $2.2 billion and institutional sales of $952 million.

Benari said that while Challenger Life's annuities business remained the largest contributor to the company's performance, funds management had now reached critical mass and was delivering strong earnings growth and a return on earnings of 26 per cent.

He said Challenger's funds management business had a very strong year, with net inflows increasing 65 per cent to $7 billion driving total funds under management up 33 per cent to $41.1 billion.

Benari said retail investor demand for annuities was helping drive Challenger's institutional relationships, with arrangements having been struck with both Bendigo and Adelaide Bank and QSuper.

The Challenger CEO also flagged a further advertising push around annuities, saying the company would next month kick off a new campaign "showing that annuities are more than just a safe haven from volatile markets".

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