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NEW Friends Life sales flat as new business profits surge 41%

Total sales for the first nine months of the year increased 2 per cent, from £513m in the first nine months of 2012 to £521m this year.

Friends Life has reported flat sales in its UK division during the first nine months of 2013, with the profitability of new business written increasing by 41 per cent.

Friends Life’s Q3 interim management statement, published this week, reveals total UK sales for the first nine months of the year increased 2 per cent, from £513m in the first nine months of 2012 to £521m during the same period this year.

This was driven by a 79 per cent surge in retirement income sales, from £28m to £50m, while protection sales fell from £65m to £63m.

Corporate benefits sales dropped 3 per cent, from £420m to £408m, although the value of new corporate business increased 36 per cent, from £14m to £19m, primarily driven by automatic enrolment.

Friends Life says: “As employer and employee contributions increase in line with the statutory minimum levels from 2 per cent to 8 per cent in aggregate in 2018, the group expects to see incremental asset flows which would substantially increase the value and profitability of these schemes.”

The value of all new business written in the UK during the period rose by 41 per cent, from £94m to £133m.

Rowley Turton director Scott Gallacher says: “Friends is right to focus on the value of corporate business but its reputation with advisers has been badly damaged by the decision to remove commission from some of its corporate bonds.”

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