Royal London profits slump despite sales surge

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Royal London saw profits plummet during the first half of the year despite recording a surge in sales across its life and pensions business.

The firm’s half year results, published this morning, show life and pensions sales rose 34 per cent year-on-year, from £2.26bn to just over £3bn.

Sales of individual pension policies increased 56 per cent, from £607m to £947m, while drawdown sales rocketed 61 per cent, from £358m to £577m.

Protection intermediary sales were also up 43 per cent year-on-year, from £162m to £231m.

However, pre-tax profits measured on both an EEV and IFRS basis declined by 42 per cent and 78 per cent, respectively. The mutual says this was due to lower gains on investments in 2015 versus 2014.

Royal London Asset Management saw a drop in inflows in the first half of the year, while the Ascentric wrap saw inflows flatline.

The asset management company saw net new external business inflows of £511m, compared to £1.3bn in the same period last year, having been hit by high outflows.

The £1.87bn of inflows were on par with last year, but the £1.36bn of outflows were more than double the previous year’s £540m.

The company saw wholesale net inflows of £388m, with the UK Equity Income and Corporate Bond funds each seeing £135m in inflows, followed by Sterling Credit with £49m in inflows and the Cash Plus fund with £27m.

The Ascentric wrap platform benefitted from the new pension freedoms, with a 115 per cent increase in customers transferring to drawdown. However, gross sales stayed flat, with £1.19bn of sales in the first half of the year, compared to £1.16bn at the same time last year, a 3 per cent rise.

Net new assets under administration on Ascentric dropped in the first half to £565m, from £651m in the same period last year.

However, assets on the platform grew in the past six months.

“Ascentric, our wrap platform administrator, has achieved strong levels of new business growth and has increased its assets under administration by 8 per cent during the first half of 2015 to £9.6bn,” state the results.