View more on these topics

Pru wary despite bond sales surge

Prudential says it is continuing to tread cautiously in the UK insurance market after new business fell by 19 per cent last year to £607m in annual premium equivalent from £750m in 2002.

UK new business was only slightly ahead of the Pru&#39s Asian operations, which reached £555m in 2003, up by 16 per cent from £478m in 2002.

Group chief executive Jonathan Bloomer says the Pru expects to gain from returning consumer confidence and a shift by savers towards companies with strong financial strength but it remains cautious about the prospects for 2004.

In the fourth quarter of 2003, UK insurance sales rose by 10 per cent to £148m from £134.5m in the third quarter on the back of strong with-profits bond and corporate pension sales.

Intermediary sales of the Pru with-profits bond leapt by a third from £14.5m in the third quarter to £19.2m in the final quarter of last year.

Fund management subsidiary M&G had gross fund inflows of £3.8bn last year, mostly from institutions, with only £1.2bn coming from the retail market. This was up slightly on £3.7bn of inflows in 2002. The fund house now manages £24.2bn in assets.

Bloomer says: “In the UK, we expect to benefit from savers choosing those companies with clear financial strength. However, while consumer confidence is returning, we remain relatively cautious for the UK in the first half of 2004 due to the uncertainty surrounding the continuing Government and regulatory review.”

Independent insurance analyst Ned Cazalet says: “It is a well known fact that the focus of the Pru in terms of organic growth has been Asia for some time. In the UK, the Pru has a pretty limited range of products compared with many of its rivals.”

Recommended

L&G sees 2 per cent drop in new business

Legal & General has recorded a drop of 2 per cent in its UK new business levels in 2003, but saw growth in the second half of the year and is holding out hopes for further recovery this year. The group saw UK new business sales drop to £794m APE last year from £810m in […]

&#39Regulation will mean death of loan clubs&#39

Mortgage regulation will bring the death of mortgage clubs, claims Whitechurch Network chief executive Kean Seager. Seager says mortgage clubs are in a frenzy, trying to come up with a unique selling proposition post-regulation and the solutions they are coming up with will not be attractive for most advisers. He believes that in an attempt […]

St James&#39s enjoys final-quarter fillip

St James&#39s Place saw new business rise by 24 per cent in the final quarter of 2003 despite a 4 per cent fall for the whole year. Investment new business leapt by 44 per cent to £26.1m annual premium equivalent in the last three months while protection business was up by 32 per cent to […]

Unicorn launches new VCT share issue

Unicorn AIM Venture Capital Trust has launched a new series of shares. The company has issued up to £20m of new shares which will qualify for tax relief. The original Unicorn AIM VCT Fund raised £35m in the 2001/2 tax year. Since its launch date in October 2001 to end December 2003 it has provided […]

Brexit Commentary from Natixis Global Asset Management

By David F Lafferty, CFA, SVP – Chief Market Strategist Thursday’s historic Leave vote in the UK will have both immediate and long-term consequences for the global economy and financial markets. The initial flight-to-quality reaction across asset classes has been exacerbated by the market’s misplaced confidence in a Remain victory leading up to the vote. Stock markets […]

Newsletter

News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up

Comments

    Leave a comment