JRP Group has revealed its defined benefit (DB) de-risking sales were 24% down in 2016 compared to 2015 due to stagnation following a rush to beat incoming Solvency II requirements.
However, compared to 2014 deals were up 37%, the firm reported in its first preliminary annual results since the merger between Just Retirement and Partnership in April last year.
In 2016, DB de-risking sales amounted to £943m, falling from £1,233m in 2015.
The group said the significant fall was due to high transaction activity in the latter part of 2015 as DB schemes rushed to complete de-risking deals before stringent Solvency II requirements came into force in January 2016.
The EU regulation requires insurers to hold more capital on their balance sheets to reduce risk of insolvency. This caused concerns that buy-ins and buyouts would become more expensive.
JRP illustrated this by pointing to 2014 figures, which showed around £670m of deals completed in the year.
Group chief executive Rodney Cook said the business expected a growth in de-risking sales over this year.
"The transformation of our business since the merger is more than delivering the expected benefits," he said. "We have adapted the business rapidly in 2016 to the new regulatory environment.
"This will continue into 2017, with our primary focus on growing earnings by using our combined intellectual property for better risk selection and by driving down costs.
"Our DB pipeline continues to grow, and we are progressing transactions at all stages of the sales process with a number of major employee benefit consultants."
The firm also reported sales of its guaranteed income for life products had grown by 2% over 2016. It added this stabilisation was expected following the introduction of Freedom and Choice in April 2015, but anticipated further growth this year.
The group will publish its full results for 2016 on March 10.
The number of defined benefit (DB) scheme members with benefits protected by an insurer will double by the middle of the decade, according to Lane Clark & Peacock (LCP).
Aviva Life & Pensions has concluded an £875m buy-in with its own staff pension scheme, following on from a similar transaction last year.
Just Group has completed a £74m pensioner buy-in with the UK pension scheme of a US-listed engineering business.
The Smiths Industries Pension Scheme has secured a £146m buy-in with Canada Life in its fourth bulk annuity and its sponsor’s tenth overall.
The Prudential Staff Pension Scheme has entered into a £3.7bn longevity swap with Pacific Life Re, insuring the longevity risk of over 20,000 pensioners.