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Pru UK profits flat as RDR continues to hit sales

Profits at Prudential’s UK arm have remained flat for 2013 at £706m as the impact of the RDR continued to hit the insurer’s retail investment sales.

Prudential UK has posted a pre-tax profit of £706m for its life business for the year, compared to £703m for 2012. Overall UK sales fell 12 per cent from £795m to £697m, with onshore bond sales down 23 per cent from £228m to £176m.

The insurer says: “The RDR has significantly impacted the timing of sales volumes in the UK retail investments markets over the last two years.

“For Prudential, this resulted in very strong sales of onshore bonds in 2012, due to heightened activity prior to RDR, while in 2013 volumes returned to levels consistent with 2011, the last ‘undisturbed’ year.”

Individual annuity sales fell 14 per cent during 2013 from £146m to £126m, which the provider attributes to a strong previous year ahead of the introduction of gender neutral pricing and the RDR.

Bulk annuity sales fell 32 per cent from £48m to £28m, which Pru says is due to “selective participation” in the bulk annuities market based on its returns criteria. The firm’s direct advice arm, Prudential Financial Planning, saw adviser numbers go from 129 to 196.

Syndaxi Chartered Financial Planners managing director Robert Reid says: “The Pru sold a lot of bonds on a commission basis pre-RDR so I am not surprised its sales dropped.”

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