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Bulk decision hits Standard sales but Sipps shine

Standard Life life and pension business fell by 23 per cent in the first nine months of this year to £7.3bn from £9.4bn in the same period of 2008.

Net inflows of life and pension business plummeted to £356m in the first three quarters of this year compared with £1.1bn in the period last year.

Standard Life says sales have been affected by its decision not to renew bulk investment bond deals. It says the investment bond deals were written at lower margins in 2008 primarily to secure distribution relationships and it would not be renewing these.

The number of Sipp customer accounts rose from 74,700 in June to 79,100 at the end of September. Sipp assets under administration rose from £9.7bn in June to £11bn in the third quarter.

Group chief executive Sir Sandy Crombie says: “Standard Life has continued to deliver a reliable underlying performance in the first nine months of the year despite the challenging market conditions. I am particularly pleased with the strong growth in assets, especially in the third quarter. This should benefit the group’s profits and cashflow in the years to come.”

Crombie is stepping down in December after 43 years at Standard and David Nish takes over as chief executive.

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