Legal & General saw new business rise 3% during a tough 2008 as growth in the pensions and retirement market offset falling sales elsewhere.
UK new business rose from 1.32bn in 2007 to £1.36bn in 2008, while final quarter sales are up 6% compared with the previous three months.
Annuity business jumped 37% to £281m, boosted by rapid growth in bulk purchase annuities, which climbed 73% to £194m. Individual annuity sales fell 6% to £87m.
Savings business saw mixed results, as unit linked bond sales plummeted by £120m to just £131m, while with-profits business fell 16% to £191m.
Legal & General says its SIPP sales have benefited from the firm's new focus on "modern, flexible, transparent and less capital intensive products."
Non-profit pension sales climbed 30% to £328m, with SIPPs accounting for 57% of its individual business. It's acquisition of Suffolk Life in early 2008 help boost growth in the sector, L&G says.
Despite major challenges in the retail investment industry, L&G's sales in the sector climbed 42% to £229m after the firm agreed a distribution deal with Nationwide Building Society.
Protection sales fell 7% overall due to a rapid decline in the individual protection market. Individual sales fell 13% to £140m, but L&G says this compares favourably with a 39% decline in mortgage approvals and products not associated with mortgages saw sales increase during 2008. Group protection sales fared better, up 6% year on year to £67m.
"Legal & General's capital and cashflow position remains robust, and our significant surplus gives confidence to our customers, underpins returns to investors, and enables us to build the business even through volatile markets," says chief executive Time Breedon.
"The challenges of recent months look set to continue in 2009 - but there will be opportunities for growth. We have the confidence to continue to grow and develop our business profitably and invest for the future."
Contact: John Bakie, Tel: 020 7484 9805, e-mail: [email protected]IFAonline
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