Standard Life sales up 10pc

British life insurer Standard Life reported a smaller-than-expected 10 per cent rise in nine-month sales and said its capital strength had been largely unaffected by financial market turmoil triggered by the Eurozone sovereign debt crisis.

Standard Life, Britain's fifth-biggest life insurer, said it had long-term new business sales of £15.5bn in the first nine months of 2011, up from £14bn in the same period last year.

Analysts had expected sales of £15.8bn, according to a consensus forecast compiled by the company.

Edinburgh-based Standard Life added that its capital position had been "largely insensitive" to sharp falls in stock markets this summer thanks to efforts to de-risk its capital reserves.

"Although the economic backdrop continues to be uncertain the outlook for our business is positive," chief executive David Nish said in a statement.