Friends Life’s new business increased 52 per cent in the first quarter of 2011, driven by a boon in corporate group pension sales.
Total group sales increased from £178m in Q1, 2010 to £270m in the first three months this year.
UK sales were £172m, comprising £66m from the acquired Axa UK life businesses and Bupa Health Assurance and £106m from Friends Provident.
Corporate group pension sales rose 71 per cent to £113m in the first quarter compared to £66m in Q1 last year, with Friends Provident contributing £85m and the Axa UK life businesses contributing £28m.
Annuity volumes increased 13 per cent to £9m compared to just under £8m in Q1, 2010 with Friends Provident contributing £5m and the Axa UK life businesses £4m.
Friends Life confirms it is “working towards” a strategy for the development of its annuity business. It is also targeting improvements in the take-up rates from the group’s vesting pension annuity customers.
Friends Provident Holdings chief executive Trevor Matthews (pictured) says: “The figures show a solid start for our new company, Friends Life.
“With clarity on our chosen individual and group protection models and key markets, and significant developments underway to our workplace savings proposition, we are looking forward to continued progress and improving performance of our company during 2011.”
In a conference call this morning, Resolution chief executive John Tiner refused to be drawn on speculation the life sector consolidation firm could bid for Scottish Widows if Lloyds Banking Group puts the life and pensions business up for sale.