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Individual sales underpin Aegon

Aegon UK saw a 37 per cent rise in life and pension sales in the first quarter.

Life and pension business increased to 297m on an annual premium equivalent basis, up from 217m in the same period of 2006.

Operating earnings increased by 19 per cent to 44m from 37m last year.

Aegon Asset Management grew by 41 per cent on the retail side from 124m to 175m, on an APE basis, but institutional business plummeted by 96 per cent to 8m.

Aegon UK chief executive Otto Thoresen says: “Our institutional business is relatively small. We had a number of quite big mandates last year but so far there have been an absence of any mandates this year. It is a timing issue.”

A-Day remained a big driver for growth on individual pensions, according to Thoresen, where new business rose 69 per cent to 106m, while the individual annuity business increased by 72 per cent to 30m and offshore bond sales were up by 79 per cent. Group pension business rose by 10 per cent and Aegon says it has seen an “encouraging start” to its move into the bulk annuity market which it entered last November.

Thoresen says Aegon wrote one bulk annuity case for 11m in the first quarter and has been involved in several quotes but there is a long lead time.

Thoresen says: “Aegon’s individual business has seen the most striking growth, with new business volumes up by 60 per cent compared with the first quarter of 2006. Pension business is still strong but we are also seeing increased new business in annuities and asset decumulation as the baby boomer generation approaches retirement.”

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