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Standard Life sees Sipp inflows fall 28%

Net inflows into Standard Life’s Sipp fell 28 per cent to £1.8bn over 2009, down from £2.5bn the previous year and Sipp sales reduced 21 per cent to £2.9bn compared with £3.7bn in 2008.

The firm cites lower average market levels over the year as impacting incoming transfer values, which it says continue to represent the majority of new business.

Life and pensions net inflows more than trebled at £1.3bn, compared to £0.4bn in the fourth quarter of 2008, while life and pensions sales were up 31 per cent over the same period from £3.2bn to £4.2bn.
Meanwhile, Sipp assets increased 36 per cent over 2009, to £11.8bn compared with £8.7bn in 2008 and Standard Life’s customer base for its flagship product grew 27 per cent to 83,900, up from 65,900 in 2008.
Assets under administration on the firm’s wrap more than doubled to £3.6bn up from £1.7bn in December 2008. At the end of the year there were 583 IFA firms using the platform compared with 409 at December 2008 and 31,600 customers, up from 16,900 the previous year.
Mutual funds sold through UK life and pensions business on the Standard Life wrap, Sigma and Fundzone platforms saw net inflows more than double that of 2008 at £795m compared with £339m and sales were 60 per cent higher at £1.2bn, up from £700m in 2008.
Group pensions assets under administration were almost a quarter up on 2008 levels at £17.9bn compared with £14.4bn.
But the firm says lower average salary increases and recruitment across the UK combined with lower average asset values reduced increments to existing schemes in 2009, which represent the majority of sales.
Net flows remained stagnant at £1.5bn as did sales, which were £2.6bn. But the firm says volumes in its group Sipp increased by 61 per cent and accounted for more than half of total group pensions sales for the year compared with only 33 per cent for 2008.
Chief executive David Nish says: “Standard Life has delivered an impressive performance in 2009, a year of challenging market conditions.
“Third party assets under management in our investments business have reached record levels and we have seen increased net flows across our life and pensions operations, particularly in the fourth quarter.
“We have also achieved good growth in our customer base and assets under administration in our core propositions. This momentum, coupled with the recent recovery in market levels, will benefit the group’s future profits and cash flow.
“Our priority now is to execute our growth strategy in order to accelerate the performance of Standard Life as a long term savings and investments business.
“In addition, we will increase our focus on building valuable relationships with our customers through our brand, service and product propositions.
“We recently announced changes to the executive structure of the group, which are an important first step in transforming how we operate. Our transformation will focus on increased investment to grow our business and improving our speed to market, underpinned by continued efficiencies in our operations.”


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