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Standard Life UK life and pension sales fall 27 per cent

Standard Life saw it’s UK life and pensions sales plunge 27 per cent to £2.5bn in the first quarter of 2009.

The firm has admitted that business suffered in a number of sales channels as a result of the shock revaluation of the Pension Sterling Fund in January.

Individual Sipp sales were significantly down – falling 21 per cent to £841m, with net inflows dropping to from £743m to £441m.

The firm says it does not expect the Budget’s move to restrict higher rate tax relief to have a material impact on its future business because a major part of its strategy involves consolidating and managing existing pension pots, where pension tax relief has already been secured.

Standard Life’s FGD capital surplus fell slightly from £3.3bn at year-end to £3.2bn at March 31, 2009.

Group pensions new business fell 31 per cent to £616m which the firm says reflects lower asset values as well as reduced increment levels. Group Sipp volumes increased by 33 per cent and accounted for almost half of total group pensions sales.

The firm reported a an 87 per cent drop in investment bond new business to £84m.

Group chief executive Sir Sandy Crombie says: “Standard Life has delivered a solid underlying performance in the first quarter despite the impact of financial markets, which are significantly lower than a year ago.

“Our sales have been affected by a number of one-off factors including our decision not to renew bulk investment bond deals and the revaluation of the Pension Sterling Fund.

“Our prompt actions, including contributing capital to the fund, coupled with the strength of our distribution relationships, have seen our new business flows recover quickly.

“Although we see the challenging market conditions continuing, our strengths remain unchanged. We continue
to focus on our capital strength, innovative and capital-lite propositions and the opportunities that come from our strong distribution relationships and excellence in customer service.”

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