Standard Life results aim to justify outlay

Elizabeth Fournier
STANDARD Life’s investment strategy will be under scrutiny on Thursday when it posts first quarter results, with analysts expecting long-term savings net flows to increase by 18 per cent.

Shares in the Edinburgh-based life insurer fell more than 18 per cent at the end of March following full-year results that highlighted its higher investment spending.

But its UK corporate cash flow is expected to jump 10 per cent to £854m from £776m for the three months to March 2011. However, net cash flows from self-invested personal pensions are likely to be down, having benefited last year from proposals to change the minimum age at which pensions can be accessed.

The Department for Work and Pensions last week ruled out allowing the early access to pension savings, saying there was no evidence it would encourage more people to start saving.

Chief executive David Nish, who was promoted from finance director at the firm in January 2010, was also awarded a 66 per cent pay rise earlier this month, based on strict targets that mean he will have to deliver an operating profit of £800m by 2013. Current projections for 2013 profits stand at £556m.

During the reporting period, Standard Life also completed its acquisition of financial software company Focus Solutions for £42m, in a move designed to boost its customer services and improve product ranges.