Standard Life cheers investors

ON THE same day that rival insurer Aviva yesterday cut its payout, Scottish prudence allowed Standard Life to hand shareholders a special dividend of 12.8p per share.

The Edinburgh-based insurer agreed to return an extra £302m to investors as group pre-tax profits rose by two-thirds to £900m for last year.

Chief executive David Nish attributed his company’s success to “building strong positions in our core markets”.

UK pre-tax profits drove most of the growth with a 74 per cent hike to £382m.

Meanwhile total funds under management at the insurer rose from £198.4bn to £218.1bn over the course of 2012.

Standard Life is well-positioned to benefit from this year’s ban on paying commission to financial advisers since it stopped such payments more than six years ago.