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Friends&#39 business up 10% in Q1

Friends Provident&#39s life and pension business rose by 10 per cent in

the first quarter of this year.

Sales reached £92m on an equivalent premium income basis from

£84m in the first quarter of 2002.

Total new life business grew by 31 per cent to £38m EPI in the

quarter from £29m. New savings and investment business was up by

24 per cent to £36m from £21m, bolstered by expansion of

international business.

New protection business, including income protection, increased by 47

per cent to £13m, up from £9m in Q1 of 2002, boosted by a

new distribution deal with Countrywide estate agents.

Online sales of protection business through IFAs has continued to

grow, with 27 per cent of stand-alone protection products transacted

electronically in the first quarter, up from 5 per cent in the same

period last year.

New group pension business grew by 14 per cent to £36m in Q1 of

2002 from £32m in Q1 last year although pension business overall

fell by 2 per cent to £53m from £54m, due to a fall in

individual pension business. New individual pension business fell by

41 per cent to £8m from £13m as Friends switched its focus

to the group market.

Life and pensions managing director Ben Gunn says: “We have continued

to del-iver encouraging growth in our three chosen core product lines

and have maintained the business momentum achieved in 2002 despitedifficult

market conditions.

“We remain confident of growing our share of new business in 2003,

albeit against a challenging market backdrop.”

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