Norwich Union saw individual pension sales grow by 22 per cent quarter on quarter after it boosted commission in July.The company admits it has sacrificed some margin to maintain market share because of aggressive pricing from competitors on stakeholder and personal pensions. Chief executive Gary Withers says he was uncomfortable raising commission in July after slashing it the previous November but in the longer term he expects a reversion to more sustainable pricing levels. He says a similar situation exists in the protection mar- ket but he believes that NU has the scale to compete at the low margin levels which have already seen rivals such as Prudential back away. Third-quarter UK personal pension sales were up by 22 per cent from 539.76m to 692m. However, total life and pension business fell to 6.6bn in the nine months to the end of September 2004 from6.8bn in the same period last year. Protection sales rose by 7 per cent from 231m to 247m quarter on quarter but margins slid from 3.2 per cent to 2.7 per cent. Investment sales also saw healthy growth, up by 11 per cent to 2.68bn in Q3 from 2.38bn in Q2. Withers says: “Some competitors have been pricing at loss-making levels and grabbing market share and we could not allow that to happen. It is leading to firms reappraising their plans and perhaps being more realistic about volume growth. Margins have eased back but we are writing business above the cost of capital. “Pension sales dropped back in the first half of the year but are coming back in the second and our long-term aspiration is to get higher pricing.”
MFS International UK
MFS Meridian US Government Bond Fund
Leeds Building Society
Two Year Fixed Rate Mortgage
Home Information Packs have come under fire from the Law Society following the move by the Government to publish draft regulations this week. The Society is concerned the Government still has not set up appropriate certification arrangements to regulate and control the production of the reports and the people who produce them.
Fund Distribution Limited will make its first compensation offer to split-cap investors in December and says it will pay out within four weeks if claimants accept. Offers will be open for five weeks and claimants can reject an offer but would be inelig- ible for a second round of compensation next spring. FDL was set […]
By Rob Burnett, Neptune European Opportunities Fund
In recent months, investors have become more pessimistic about both the European and the US economic outlook and yet stockmarkets have pushed on to new highs. Some would argue that this is a worrying divergence. We would take the opposite view. This appears to be classic bull market behaviour. A wall of worry has been rebuilt, and stockmarket resilience should be taken as a sign of strength. The market is discounting an improving economic outlook ahead, particularly in the south of Europe.
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