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Standard Life boosted by Ignis acquisition but annuity sales hammered

Standard Life’s group assets under administration and fee revenues have been pushed higher by its acquisition of Ignis Asset Management.

The company’s Q3 interim management statement shows fee revenue from continuing operations is up 13 per cent year-to-date to £1,032m from £913m, while assets under administration grew to £290bn from £215bn at the start of the year, with net inflows of £4.3bn.

Both figures were boosted by the integration of Ignis’s assets, worth £61bn, from 1 July. In addition, the planned sale of the group’s Canadian operations means shareholders will receive £1.75bn in returned capital.

The surge in small and medium sized firms hitting their auto-enrolment staging date has helped push the provider’s total number of auto-enrolment customers past 500,000, including 117,500 in the quarter.

Annuity sales were down 67 per cent compared to the same quarter last year. The statement says the firm expects the decline in annuities to lead to a “step down” in profitability of spread/risk business in the future.

Standard Life chief executive David Nish says: “We are also strongly placed to deal with the far-reaching reforms to the savings and retirement income rules, announced earlier this year by the UK Government, and to support customers through these changes. We have an excellent track record of succeeding in evolving markets. “

Total platform assets under administration increased by 15 per cent year to date, from £19.4bn to £22.4bn. The number of adviser firms using Standard Life’s wrap platform grew 6 per cent since January, to 1,314 from 1,236.

Nish says: “We have made good strategic progress in the quarter with the completion of the acquisition of Ignis Asset Management and the announcement of the proposed sale of our Canadian operations which enables a £1.75bn return of capital to shareholders.

“Although investment markets are unsettled and may affect the near-term pace of asset and revenue growth, we are very well placed for the future. We have the products, experience and proven investment performance to help our customers and clients in all of our markets to save and invest, so that they can look forward to their financial futures with confidence.”


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