Standard Life assets rise in face of pensions and annuities reforms

 
Joe Hall
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Standard Life's headquarters in Edinburgh. (Source: Getty)

The figures

Standard Life's assets under administration rose by five per cent to £311.9bn in the first quarter, as the savings and assets manager flexed its muscle in the face of new UK laws allowing savers to cash in their pension annuities.

Third party net inflows of £3.7bn - 73 per cent of which came from outside the UK - drove a five per cent increase in assets under management to £258.4bn.

The company's expanding global reach was also paired with "continued momentum" in the UK where it enjoyed a six per cent increase in assets under management to £108.5bn.

The UK's fourth-largest insurer added 60,000 new savers in the quarter through auto-enrolment, bringing its total to 620,000 since auto-enrolment began.

Why it's interesting

New pensions rules came into effect this month, allowing UK savers to take out their entire pension as a whole lump sum rather than just purchasing an annuity which will deliver income over time.

The reforms created a radical shake-up of the market for savings firms such as Standard Life which enjoyed revenues from the sale of annuities. But its results in the first quarter demonstrate it is well positioned to deal with the changes.

Standard Life's "wrap" platform, which holds all a customer's investments in one place, reached record quarterly inflows of £16bn in an example of the company's shrinking reliance on annuities.

What Standard Life said

Chief executive David Nish said:

The strength of our propositions, investment solutions and market positioning means we are well placed to deal with the new pensions regulations and to support customers as saving for their futures becomes increasingly front of mind.

We remain very well positioned to deliver ongoing growth. We have the products, expertise and proven investment performance to help our customers and clients to save and invest, so that they can look forward to their financial futures with confidence.

In short

With continued momentum in the UK and a growing influence overseas, Standard Life has reaffirmed its ability to shrug off a shake-up in the pensions market in 2015.

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