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Prudential UK’s insurance sales up 4 per cent

Total APE sales for Prudential’s UK insurance operations were up 4 per cent last year to £947m.

Individual annuity sales of £280m were inline with the 2007 figure, despite market volatility. The firm puts this down to its strong internal vesting book, where sales rose 14 per cent to £160m over 2008.

With-profits bond sales jumped 139 per cent last year to £98m. The firm say the strong increase reflects a growing demand for the security of this type of product due to market turmoil. PruFund sales soared 273 per cent to £70m APE.

Individual pension sales of £38m were 6 per cent up on 2007. Sales of Prudential’s factory-gate priced flexible retirement plan jumped 123 per cent to £11m.

The firm reports a capital surplus of £1.7bn which translates to a 160 per cent solvency ratio. This includes £0.3bn which the FSA has allowed it to realise from its inherited estate.

Group chief executive Mark Tucker says: “Prudential has delivered a very good sales performance with overall group insurance new business up five per cent in a really challenging environment. Our retirement led strategy, underpinned by our international presence, product and distribution capabilities and brands, has resulted in strong performance across the group, with each of the businesses demonstrating positive momentum in exceptionally volatile and turbulent conditions and benefiting overall from a flight to quality.

“We expect 2009 to be a challenging year and for global financial markets to remain difficult. In this environment we have taken a prudent approach to our 2009 plans, balancing new business with cash generation and capital conservation as our key drivers. We firmly believe that our combination of financial strength and focused strategy will enable us to out-perform our competition over the economic and financial cycle. We remain firmly committed to our current dividend policy.”


FOS warning over rejecting complaints

FOS chief ombudsman Walter Merricks has warned that firms facing financial hardship are too quick to reject consumer complaints and, as a result, a higher proportion are being upheld by the ombudsman.


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