Scottish Friendly is leading the way in the with-profits bond market, according to the latest survey by Investment, Life & Pensions Moneyfacts.
The research group's results show with-profits bond returns over various periods based on a single premium of £25,000.
The best performer over five years was Scottish Friendly which showed a return of £31,170, followed by Prudential at £29,721 and in third place MGM, returning £28,037.
The worst performer was Axa, which produced £22,093. The results show that over the last three months the average five-year values have dropped from £27,248 to £26,337.
Over a three-year period, the best performer was Nottingham Friendly Society with £26,907 while the worst return was Liverpool Victoria which reached £18,480.
The best performer over one year was Standard Life's with-profits bond at £27,362 equivalent to 9.5 per cent growth over the last 12 months.
Standard's result reflects an encouraging improvement for policyholders in the average for one-year WP bonds over the last three months. Three months ago, the average one-year return fell below the contribution made at £24,332 but over the last 12 months a WP bond would have made a small positive return of £25,163.
Over the last two or three years, WP providers have had to shift equity holdings to protect their funds from stock market losses and meet solvency requirements preventing many from taking advantage of any sustained market growth.
Axa PR manager Peter Webb says: “The returns will depend largely on how each individual company manages their fund differently. Traditionally, Axa's fund has had a high exposure to equities, which is why our returns will differ, in some cases significantly, to other providers.”