L&G shares rise as bulk annuity sale reassures

Kate McCann
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LEGAL and General announced a strong set of first quarter results yesterday, bolstered by promising bulk annuity sales which helped stave off concern about the individual annuity market.

Individual sales of annuities were down 40 per cent, the company said, following an announcement by the chancellor George Osborne in his Budget, heralding an overhaul of the pensions industry and more choice for consumers in retirement.

Legal and General said it had been hit to the tune of £15m by customers withdrawing their annuity purchases following the government’s announcement. This decline was offset by a bulk annuity contract with ICI’s pension fund, worth £3bn. The deal boosted new business premiums to £3.3bn in total, compared to £0.8bn in the same quarter in 2013.

Nigel Wilson, group chief executive, said: “We already benefit from favourable demographic trends; we have economically and socially useful products for customers; and with our Legal and General Investment Management economists forecasting 3 per cent plus economic growth in the UK and US, we are excited about the prospects for our business.”