A £44m impairment cost attributed to upgrading its Ascentric platform has taken the shine off otherwise positive results for Royal London that included a 16% rise in group operating profit to £282m over the 12 months to December 2016.
The company said: "Profit from Royal London's uncovered business has moved from a profit into a loss of £44m due to significant cost being incurred in 2016 relating to the development of new back-office software in Ascentric. We have recognised an impairment of £44m in the year."
The provider became the majority shareholder of Ascentric in 2007, before finally buying out Ascentric's minority shareholding in 2015.
While Ascentric saw assets under administration increase by 22% to £12.3bn in the period under review, the platform's gross sales fell 8% year-on-year to £2.3bn.
Other numbers posted by Royal London showed funds under management up 18% to £100bn since December 2015, intermediary protection business up 29% to £647m and group pensions business up 38% to £3.9bn.
Individual pensions and drawdown business was meanwhile up 17% from £3.2bn to £3.8bn - a rise put down to "the continued popularity of the Governed Retirement Income Portfolios and the introduction of the drawdown governance tools for advisers".
Royal London group chief executive Phil Loney (pictured) said the results reflected the "continued excellent progress of Royal London in 2016, performing well despite the backdrop of a turbulent year in politics and markets".
He added: "Royal London is becoming a much bigger and more established presence in the markets in which we operate. We are now a top-three new business player in several key areas and group funds under management grew to £100bn, which is 18% higher than the previous year.
"The resulting growth in our revenues has allowed us to maintain a strong capital position in a volatile world, and to invest heavily in new technology platforms which will enable the business to remain agile and competitive into the future."
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