Old Mutual and Swiss Re sales and profits rise

OLD Mutual posted an eight per cent rise in life and pensions sales to £358m in the past quarter, far ahead of expectations yesterday, as it expanded in Scandinavia and emerging markets.

Switzerland’s reinsurance giant Swiss Re also surprised investors with far better third-quarter results than expected as its net profit more than doubled to $1.3bn (£813m), far ahead of forecasts for $0.5bn.

But Old Mutual said its clients, primarily US short term investors, took a net £5.3bn of their money out of its funds, far above market forecasts for a £1.8bn outflow. Its funds under management also fell 11 per cent to £272.6bn from June following the sharp falls in financial markets.

Swiss Re’s profit gains came from releases of reserves held against catastrophes in past years but were also helped by there being no major disasters in the quarter. Return on equity more than doubled to 20.5 per cent.

“Third-quarter group results were excellent with a positive contribution from all segments. Our underlying earnings power is very strong,” said its chief executive Stefan Lippe.