Old Mutual had an IFRS operating profit of £735m in the first six months of 2010, up from 513 million pounds a year earlier, it said.
Analysts had expected a profit of £681m, according to the company's calculation of consensus expectations.
The improvement was driven in part by cost cuts as Old Mutual took out £42m in expenses out of a total target of £100m.
The company also benefited from a pick up in revenues, with sales climbing 28 per cent to £814m.
"We are confident about the outlook for the full year although market uncertainties remain," Old Mutual chief executive Julian Roberts said in a statement.
Old Mutual also said it had agreed to sell its U.S. life business to hedge fund Harbinger Capital Partners for $350 million.
The company put the U.S. life business up for sale in February as part of an effort to simplify its sprawling structure.