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Profits up 14% in Standard focus on fee-based advisers

Standard Life says it is considering the unit-linked guarantee market but has no immediate plans to launch a product.

Aegon and MetLife have both introduced unit-linked guarantee products this year as they look to deliver savings solutions for loss-averse investors.

Speaking to Money Marketing following the publication of Standard Life’s halfyear results last week, the firm’s UK chief executive Paul Matthews said: “We keep looking at unit-linked guarantees but the problem is the price of guarantees is very high. We are monitoring it closely but we are not known for guaranteed products. It is not something that is at the top of our list at the moment.”

The company’s interim results show UK operating profits rose by 14 per cent to £87m from £76m in the first six months of 2010. Total fee-based revenues increased by 12 per cent to £309m from £277m as Standard looks to focus on IFAs that are “best placed to prosper” after the RDR.

The company’s wrap platform increased its assets under administration from £6.1bn at December 31, 2010 to £7.6bn at June 30.

Standard has been undergoing a wide-ranging structural reform programme as part of its preparations for the RDR. At the end of July, it set out plans to cut 39 jobs and create 19 new roles in its corporate, retail and risk divisions.

Matthews says the company has made £70m of cost savings in the past 18 months, with a further £30m expected by the end of 2012. He refuses to rule out further job cuts.

He says: “The investment in technology we are making means more people can self-serve than have done historically. This will cut the cost base down both for intermediaries and product providers.”

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