Pensions provider Royal London today said it swung to a loss in the six months to 30 June which it blamed on falling asset values and slow sales during lockdown.
Royal London posted a loss before tax of £181m for the six-month period, down from a profit of £397m at the half-year in 2019.
Its operating profit before tax slipped to £36m from £90m the previous year.
Royal London said its life and pension new business sales fell 18 per cent during the period which it said was a result of “difficult trading conditions experienced during lockdown…as companies deferred decisions to move pension scheme providers and individuals delayed investment decisions.”
The company said net inflows were £997m during the first half, compared to £5.4bn in the same period last year.
Royal London said: “Strong internal flows and growth in demand for sustainable funds were partially offset by external Institutional outflows, particularly in the segregated fixed income and cash funds.”
Royal London’s assets under management stayed static at £139bn.
Chief executive Barry O’Dwyer said: “Covid-19 will inevitably continue to have an impact on new business prospects. Looking further ahead, our strong capital position and unrivalled reputation with advisers and customers will stand us in good stead as we continue to help customers meet their protection, investment and long-term savings needs.”
Chair Kevin Parry said the business was slowly moving staff back to the office after 98 per cent of its workers switched to home working as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Parry said: “A phased return to work has been introduced for a small number of key workers and we continue to put plans in place so more of our people can revert to office based working in a safe and measured way.
“We have paid out claims to the families of more than 1,200 customers as a result of deaths attributable to Covid-19. Our thoughts are with all our customers and their families at this time.”