UK life and pension sales at Standard Life soared by almost a quarter in Q1 2010, beating expectations as UK customers shrugged off economic woes.
In the three months to 31 March, UK retail sales grew 23% to £1.8bn, up from £1.4bn for the previous quarter.
Total new business sales across all Standard Life's long-term savings operations swelled 30% in Q1 2010, rising to £4.6bn from £3.6bn in Q4 2009.
Analysts had expected long-term savings sales of £3.76bn on average, according to a company consensus.
Shares in the group, which have dropped almost 9% so far this year, were up 2.1% at 197.5p per share in early trading this morning.
Good growth in the company's individual SIPP customer base and assets under administration also continued in the first quarter of the year.
SIPP assets under administration were 9% higher at £12.8bn, compared to £11.8bn for Q4 2009.
The company also saw a short-term increase in activity levels across individual SIPP, individual pension and corporate pension product lines
Outflows increased in individual SIPPs as customers took benefits ahead of the minimum retirement age increasing from 50 to 55 in April 2010, but were offset by gross inflows of £1bn from higher sales volumes, with net inflows 28% higher at £566m.
Assets under administration on the company's wrap platform grew by 22% to £4.4bn, compared to £3.6bn in Q4 2009.
In March 2010, Standard Life announced the purchase of the remaining 75% stake in adviser support services provider, threesixty, having held a 25% stake since May 2007.
It says the acquisition "adds further depth to our propositions in the intermediary market and supports our long-term distribution capability".
Chief executive David Nish says: "These results underline our belief that the UK market is a great place to do business.
"We are executing our strategy of investing for growth and have made good progress in developing our core propositions for retail, corporate and institutional markets."
He adds the company is "progressing well" in changing how the business operates and making Standard Life more nimble and quicker to respond to customer growth opportunities.
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