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Standard surges ahead with 51% profit rise

Standard Life’s profits leapt by 51 per cent to £534m in the first half of this year from £353m in 2007.

Individual Sipp funds under administration rose by 12 per cent to £8.6bn, up from £7.7bn at December 31 2007.

Funds under administration on Standard Life’s wrap platform increased by 36 per cent to £1.5bn from £1.1bn at December 31, 2007.

At the end of June, there were 263 IFA firms using Standard Life’s platform, compared with 209 at the end of 2007.

Annuity sales edged down by 2 per cent to £252m from £257m for the same period last year. Ninety-one per cent of annuity sales came from maturing Standard Life pensions, down from last year’s figure of 95 per cent.

The firm’s individual Sipp sales dropped by 19 per cent to £2.1bn, which it believes is due to the high increase in Sipp sales after A-Day. It says it expects the UK Sipp market to double in size to £100bn of assets by 2011.

Group chief executive Sandy Crombie says Standard has had a successful first half despite market conditions.

He says: “In our life and pension business, net flows were strong, sales showed good growth and profitability was maintained.

“In Standard Life Investments, net inflows offset the impact of market declines so that third-party funds under management remained constant.

“Group operating profits were well ahead and our balance sheet remains robust, with strong solvency ratios maintained. We will continue to drive further efficiency gains, whilst investing in our businesses where we identify opportunities for growth.

“Our innovative product set, excellence in customer service and strong distribution relationships leave us well placed for the full year.”

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Heavy-handed opinion

This is a one-off, as I do not intend conducting a protracted correspondence via the letters page. Nonetheless I am compelled to write, having read Nic Cicutti’s column (Money Marketing, August 7) which he kindly devoted to me.

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