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NU leads bond league as industry WP sales rocket

Norwich Union has overtaken Prudential in the with-profits stakes as total industry bond sales soared to £15.2bn in 2001, buoyed by falling stockmarkets.

According to confidential ABI figures, the combined with-profits sales of NU at £3.1bn and Pru at £2.2bn eclipse IFA sales of Peps and Isa, which, according to the IMA, totalled £4.3bn for 2001.

The upsurge in sales comes despite the background of adverse publicity over with-profits from the Consumers&#39 Association, the Myners report and the FSA&#39s review.

NU leapfrogged Pru into first place by nearly doubling its with-profits sales from £1.6bn last year. Third-placed Standard Life saw business rocket to £1.4bn from £384m.

Total with-profits sales of £15.2bn equated to 60 per cent of the total of investment business conducted by IFAs during the year and compares with unit-linked sales of £5.6bn or 22 per cent of sales and £4.4bn for Peps and Isas or 17 per cent of business.

In 1999, Pru&#39s sales of £2.7bn dwarfed the competition but a spokesman says the company has been through radical changes since and claims with-profits sales for the first quarter this year are up by 113 per cent on 2001.

Holden Meehan director Amanda Davidson says: “This shows that IFAs are writing business with the providers they know are financially strong. It is nice to know that there is an investing public out there but perhaps the money is going into the wrong place.”

Wentworth Rose managing director Philip Rose says: “It is ironic that the questioning of with-profits should have taken place at the same time as a falling stockmarket. This is not about commission but how difficult it is to sell unit-linked investments in the current climate.”


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