Standard Life gets share boost after a surprise jump in Canadian earnings

UK life insurer Standard Life enjoyed a share price rally yesterday as the market welcomed a surprise 44 per cent leap in its first-half operating profits.

Standard Life delivered an exceptional change of fortunes in its Canadian business, where operating profit leapt 66 per cent to £103m as its management changed products and asset allocations.

Standard Life said about £15m of the gains would be a recurring benefit, while its group operating profit of £262m was about 32 per cent ahead of analysts’ consensus expectations.

The group is halfway through a three-year transformation to lower-cost, technology-driven customer service platforms to raise its profitability.

Chief exec David Nish said the strategy was on track and would “enable us to continue to succeed in the current volatile market conditions.” Analysts said it was paying off, with net fund flows up 14 per cent to £200bn.

The firm’s shares closed 5.7 per cent up at 184.5p after a volatile day.