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Pearl increases equity backing of closed with-profits funds

Pearl Group has increased the equity-backing ratio in the closed Pearl and London Life with-profits funds in a move designed to improve returns.

It says around 45,000 London Life policyholders will benefit from an increase from around 10 to 35 per cent.

From January 1, the group has further increased the EBR for one million policyholders in the Pearl Assurance with-profits fund from 45 to 50 per cent. After acquiring the fund from Pearl 18 months ago, the target EBR was increased from 25 to 50 per cent.

The group says the improvements in the Pearl with-profits fund could also increase returns for 25,000 NPIL policies that are reinsured into the Pearl with-profits fund.

Director Hugh Osmond says: “Turning round the performance of a closed fund is like turning round an oil tanker. These moves represent a real change of direction for policyholders.

“Since we acquired the businesses in 2005, we have stressed that our overriding aim is to improve returns for policyholders, in part through driving the alignment of shareholder and policyholder interests across the Pearl Group.

Elements director Caroline Anstee says: “It is good they are doing something, otherwise people will lose confidence. But there is no guarantee of improved performance.”

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