Phoenix acquires £300m equity release portfolio

Phoenix Group offices in Lothian Road, Edinburgh

Closed life and pension fund consolidator Phoenix Group Holdings plc, owner of the “old” Standard Life Assurance, announced it has acquired a portfolio of equity release mortgages from Just Retirement Limited, part of FTSE 250 retirement specialist Just Group plc, for about £300 million.

“These are mortgage backed assets across the UK and this transaction further cements Phoenix’s position as one of the largest funders and managers of equity release assets in the UK,” said Phoenix.

“In providing funding for the portfolio, Phoenix is securing the long term retirement plans put in place by the borrowers, aged 55 plus, ensuring they are able to access the equity in their family home without the need to move.

“Customers will not need to take any action as their mortgage will not change.

“The acquisition was led by the team of experts in Phoenix’s Retirement Solutions business which specialises in equity release and bulk purchase annuities.

“It is headed up by its managing director Tom Ground who has been driving forward the strategy in these markets.”

Phoenix has been active in the growing equity release market since 2016 and at the end of June 2021 about a third of its £10.7 billion diversified illiquid asset portfolio comprised equity release mortgages with an average AA rating.

Phoenix has about £300 billion of assets under administration and 13 million customers.

Andy Curran, CEO Savings & Retirement, UK and Europe at Phoenix, said: “Equity release is an important option for many people when it comes to meeting their financial planning needs later in life.

“It is a growing market that we fully support and know well, Phoenix have been active as a funder in the market since 2016.

“We’re delighted to have acquired this portfolio and to be securing the retirement plans for more borrowers.

“This is a testament to the strength and expertise of our retirement solutions team led by Tom Ground and you should expect to see more activity from us in the equity release space in the coming months and years.

“This purchase is consistent with our group vision of helping people on their journey to and through retirement.

“Alongside pension savings, equity release is a valuable part of that toolkit for a growing number of people.

“This portfolio purchase is also supportive of our strategy to grow our bulk purchase annuity business.”