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Phoenix on rise despite Brexit uncertainty

Life Insurer Phoenix Group has generated £287m in cash during the first six months of 2019 despite Brexit uncertainty, according to H1 results.

The insurer, which that bought Standard Life Assurance for £3.2bn a year ago, says strong performances in some of its business has offset weaknesses in others.

Auto-enrolment contributions to its workplace schemes and new annuity business has counteracted Brexit uncertainty and a reduction in defined benefit transfers.

This means the group expects to be towards the upper end of its cash generation target range of £600m-£700m by the end of the year.

It also reports the bulk purchase annuity market was buoyant in the first half of the year where Phoenix competed well.

During this period, the group completed a £500m liability BPA transaction with the trustees of the Marks and Spencer Pension Scheme which will deliver £90m of incremental long‑term cash generation.

There was also a net inflow of £1.1bn from the group’s buy-in of the remaining pensioner liabilities of the PGL Pension Scheme.

It adds new business through the strategic partnership with Standard Life Aberdeen brings improved sustainability to long-term cash generation.

The results say Standard Life Assurance is one of the first providers to receive authorisation from the Pensions Regulator for two master trust schemes which together look after more than 240,000 customers and £5bn of assets under administration.

Pheonix also says the FCA’s fine of circa £31m against Standard Life Assurance for misselling non-advised annuities will be covered in full by the indemnity from Standard Life Aberdeen when it bought the business.

Phoenix Group chief executive Clive Bannister says: “I am delighted to announce our H1 2019 results which demonstrate Phoenix’s commitment to meeting the targets it has set. Having delivered £287m of cash generation year to date, Phoenix expects to be towards the upper end of the £600-£700m 2019 target range.

“We also continue to make good progress across all phases of our transition programme and remain on track to meet the £1.2bn total synergy target announced in March.”

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