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Pru freezes with-profits annual bonuses

Prudential has held annual bonus rates for more than four million with-profits customers despite achieving a 12.7 per cent return on its with-profits fund.

Annual bonuses have been frozen at 3 per cent for the Prudence bond and personal pensions and 3.25 per cent for unitised corporate pensions.

At the end of last year, the asset mix of the major components of the Pru with-profits fund comprised 39 per cent equities, 42 per cent fixed interest and 12 per cent property.

The insurer says an estimated £2.2bn has been added to with-profits policy values, split equ- ally between annual bonus and final bonus payments.

The payout on a 10-year Prudence bond with a £10,000 single premium is £15,489, an annualised return of 4.5 per cent. The payout on a 15-year Prudence bond, £10,000 single premium, is £22,674, a return of 5.6 per cent.

Payout on a 20-year personal pension with £200 a month premiums is £92,904, an annualised return of 6.2 per cent, while a 20-year Scottish Amicable personal pension at £200 a month pays out £99,362, an annualised return of 6.7 per cent.

Payout on a 25-year Pru mortage endowment with a £50 monthly premium is £35,837, a rise of 10 per cent from last year while a ScotAm endowment on the same terms pays out £38,156, up by 12.3 per cent.

AWD Chase de Vere head of communications Patrick Connolly says: “With-profits returns are generally on a downward spiral and it is not surprising that some providers are still cutting bonus rates and payouts even after a strong year for investment markets. However, the difference between the best and worst providers is huge in terms of where they can invest, the bonuses they pay and the likely future returns for policyholders.”

Earlier this year, Friends Provident, Aviva and Legal & General held annual bonus rates for most with-profits policies despite double-digit investment returns.

Standard Life cut guaranteed bonus rates for around 500,000 with-profits customers as it looked to retain flexibility in the amount it invests in equities and property.

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