Standard Life hits record sales due to asset management arm

SCOTTISH insurer Standard Life yesterday reported record new business sales, largely thanks to a strong performance by its fund management division.

Pre-tax operating profits rose six per cent to £304m for the first half of 2013, with a substantial jump in the number of customers joining the company through corporate pension schemes.

“Standard Life Investments has had an outstanding start to the year with its operating profit up 37 per cent,” said group chief executive David Nish.

“Excellent investment performance has driven exceptionally strong net inflows of £7.1bn.”

Despite the strong results the company’s share price fell 2.6 per cent after the results failed to meet the City’s ambitious expectations.

The company, which is looking to diversify its business away from traditional life insurance products, has performed well despite losing key members of staff so far this year: Euan Munro, previously head of its flagship investment fund has left to join Aviva, while chief financial officer Jackie Hunt has jumped ship to Prudential.

Marcus Barnard, an analyst with Oriel Securities, reiterated his ‘buy’ rating on the stock: “We expect investors to focus on the positive top line growth, rather than the lack of positive one-offs in the operating profit.”