Standard Life helped by UK pension sales

INSURER Standard Life yesterday announced a smaller than expected drop in revenues, assisted by strong British pension sales.

The Edinburgh-based firm said new business sales hit £5bn for the first quarter of 2012, down from £5.8bn in the same period last year but ahead of expectations.

“We had indicated to the market that the lack of consumer confidence will depress sales numbers in first two quarters of 2012 and we will see better growth in the second two quarters,” chief financial officer Jackie Hunt told City A.M. “I think against that backdrop it’s a solid performance.”

The firm does not issue quarterly profit figures but investors were encouraged by the announcement, pushing shares up one per cent to 226.5p.

Total assets under administration stood at £206.8bn at the end of March, up from £194.5bn a year earlier and the firm administers the pension schemes of more than 1.16m people, an increase of 26,000.