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Just Group third quarter new business up 17 percent on year

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By Reuters

By Simon Jessop

LONDON (Reuters) – British retirement services specialist Just Group <JUSTJ.L> on Wednesday posted a 17 percent year-on-year rise in third-quarter new business sales, boosted by demand from companies to offload pension-scheme risk.

Just Group said total new business sales in the three months to the end of September were 765 million pounds ($972.39 million), compared with 656 million pounds in the year-earlier period.

Demand from companies to pass on risks associated with their defined benefit, or final salary, pension schemes showed the biggest jump, rising 35 percent on the year to 363 million pounds, it said in a statement.

“The markets in which we operate are generally buoyant,” Rodney Cook, Group Chief Executive, said.

The company has seen its shares rise strongly in recent days after the UK regulator said the introduction of any new capital rules, which could see firms such as Just Group need to put more money aside, would not come before the end of 2019.

That, said Cook, had given the company “greater flexibility to execute any necessary capital management actions”, adding the company was raising prices to ensure better returns on capital, which could impact sales in the final quarter.

However, Cook said the company remained “confident of delivering a strong performance for the year”.

($1 = 0.7867 pounds)

(Reporting by Simon Jessop, editing by Sinead Cruise)