Rising confidence in the stockmarkets has brought a boost to sales of unit-linked funds, according to the ABI.
Its latest figures show individual regular-premium life and pension business at £863m for the third quarter of this year, down from £947m in the second quarter and £917m in Q3 of last year.
However, the ABI points out that business has risen over the year so far from £836m in the first quarter this year, compared with a fall of 8.3 per cent from the first to third quarter in 2002.
The ABI says greater confidence in stockmarkets has brought an increase in sales of unit-linked funds, with 65 per cent of new premiums investing in unit-linked products in Q3 of 2003, compared with 54 per cent in the same period in 2002.
A total of 113,000 individual stakeholder pensions were sold in the third quarter, taking the total number of sales of the product to 1.6 million, but of the £451m invested in singe-premium stakeholder pensions offered by ABI member companies 64 per cent was transferred from existing investments.
Sales of critical-illness products rose by 9.6 per cent to 960,000 policies in the first nine months of this year from 876,000 in the same period last year.
ABI director general Mary Francis says: “So far, 2003 has been an encouraging year and our figures suggest that consumer confidence is gradually returning. However, the Government's message on the need to boost pension saving is still not being heard as strongly as it might be.”
Single-premium business continued a rising trend this year with sales at £10,894m in the third quarter, up from £10,693m in Q2 and £10,865m in Q1. Single-premium sales were, however, still considerably down compared with last year when the third quarter saw a total of £12,811m.