St James's Place (SJP) and Standard Life are two of the few companies to benefit from the Retail Distribution Review (RDR), according to analysts at Investec.
The broker upgraded both companies to a "buy" rating, following impressive performance, and in particular, SJP's "unique" sales force.
It praised Standard Life for abandoning commission in 2006.
However, the future for many life companies was uncertain, said analyst Kevin Ryan.
"The outlook in the UK is clouded by the introduction of RDR, economic torpor and the poor investment returns that are the inevitable by-product.
"The ending of life companies paying commission to IFAs and other sales people should help to lower new business churn and improve margins. Adjusting business models to cope with this may not be easy."
Despite this, the firm also upgraded L&G from "sell" to "hold". While the insurer is still facing "strategic challenges", cash generation is now good, Ryan said - mainly as a result of reducing its less-profitable annuity business as a percentage of turnover.
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