Legal & General sees sales jump to record high

INSURER Legal & General (L&G) yesterday announced record sales for the three months between June and September, with a 28 per cent growth in new business to £533m – as the firm’s chief executive warned that forthcoming EU industry reforms might never be implemented.

The firm enjoyed a bumper quarter, largely thanks to strong growth in workplace pensions – up 189 per cent to £159m – after it benefited from the introduction of auto-enrolment schemes for large companies.

Sales of protection products – which guard against loss of income – were up by a third year-on-year.

Meanwhile L&G  chief executive Nigel Wilson yesterday told reporters that the EU’s new Solvency II capital rules for insurers might need to be rewritten to meet regional demands.

“I suspect there’ll be a more pragmatic solution developed over the next few years which meets the needs of customers and regulators in France, Germany, the UK, Italy etc,” Wilson said on a conference call. “To try and harmonise 27 countries across Europe in the midst of a financial crisis is an extraordinarily difficult task, and everybody’s realising that this is just going to be continually delayed.”

Matthew Preston, an analyst at Berenberg Bank, said there could be an increase in dividend payments on the horizon: “Having spent the last few years focusing on costs and new business strain, we believe that L&G is now best-in-class in terms of operational efficiency.”