Challenger moves further into IFA market

Challenger has posted positive half-year financial results, announcing its retail annuity business hit record sales while experiencing new adviser uptake.

Speaking at an investor presentation yesterday, Challenger chief executive Brian Benari said the company saw retail annuity sales of over $1.6 billion in the six months to December 2015, up 10 per cent over the same period a year ago.

Mr Benari also said Challenger has gained new business from advisers after its annuity products were added to Colonial First State (CFS) platforms in August 2015.

"This is expanding our distribution across the IFA market, who extensively use CFS platforms," he said.

"Nearly half of the Colonial platform sales were from new advisers... Volumes are building month on month and, importantly, from a range of new advisers who have not traditionally sold our product.

"This is exactly what we expected and we're more confident than ever that this will be a winner for Challenger and give us a competitive advantage."

Mr Benari added that Challenger will continue to develop partnerships with platform providers and broaden access to more advisers.

"We started with Colonial and we have more hubs in the pipeline," he said.

Meanwhile, Challenger's average funds under management rose to $54.8 billion, up 4 per cent on the previous corresponding period.

Funds management net income increased 20 per cent to $67 million, following the July 2015 acquisition of UK-based alternative investment group, Dexion Capital.

"The underlying business results announced today demonstrate great progress. The business is growing, margins are expanding, and we continue to be disciplined cost managers," Mr Benari said.

"All of this has been achieved while hitting key strategic milestones to expand [annuity] distribution footprint and build a diversified global funds management business with new avenues for growth."

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