Friends Provident has recorded a 7% jump in new UK life and pensions profits in the first six months this year, up to £95m.
In its interim results released to the stock exchange this morning, Friends Prov also revealed a 12% jump in total life and pensions sales – from £2.02bn in 2006, to £2.26bn.
Group pensions sales were up 11% to £1.3bn while international sales jumped 16% to £1.17bn.
Its interim dividend per share for the period was up 5p, to 2.7p.
Friends Provident group chief executive Philip Moore says the group’s financial position “remains robust” with capital resources exceeding requirements by approximately £1bn.
But he added the group’s solid UK position is tempered by a moderate protection market, which will extend the timescale on its 2008 UK new business profits target.
“The Friends Provident Group continues to make good headway in UK and International life and pensions, despite the competitive nature of the UK market,” he says.
“In the UK, group pensions remains the key growth driver, with our leading-edge proposition capturing significant levels of new business from the ongoing trend away from defined benefit and trustee schemes - a trend expected to continue well into the future.”
On the asset management side, Friends Provident says F&C is making “significant progress” in its three-year plan, with eight initiatives launched in the first half of the year.
“High quality personnel have been recruited and a range of initiatives deployed to improve revenues and increase margin,” Moore says.
He added the proposed merger with Resolution will improve Friends Prov's growth prospects.
“Friends Provident remains a strong, standalone company with excellent prospects for profitable growth, differentiated by our focus on customer service, enabled by leading-edge technology,” Moore says.
“We are confident that the proposed merger with Resolution to form Friends Financial Group will add significantly to this position and deliver increased shareholder value.”
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