Royal London profits up on CIS acquisition and new business surge

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Royal London's operating profits for 2013 were up to £346m, with new business accounting for £70m of the gains.

The 2013 total included a £150m one-off gain from the acquisition of the CIS business.  Its results for year ended 31 December 2013 said continuing new life and pensions business was up 18% to £3,464m.

Group funds under management were £73.6bn, up 48%, and included £20.4 from the CIS acquisition.

Phil Loney, group chief executive, said: "A lot changed in 2013, both for Royal London and for financial services in general. Our businesses had to contend with new regulations at the same time as tough market conditions. We did so, for the most part, very successfully by producing one of the strongest profit performances in the recent history of the group.

"Just as importantly, the changes we have made to our business have improved our ability to deliver the best experiences and outcomes for our members, customers and intermediary partners.
 
"New business profits increased in the year.  A slight decline in existing business profits reflects an increase in strategic investment in the business to support a number of key goals; our auto-enrolment programme, our move to operate under a new Royal London Brand and the launch of our direct business later in 2014.

"After reflecting economic variances, our EEV profit before tax was significantly increased on last year. This reflects favourable economic conditions and a positive contribution from the CIS acquisition and also good operating performance in pensions and asset management."
 
He added the acquisition of CIS and the sale of Royal London 360, its offshore business, were two key developments for the group.

"The CIS acquisition has significantly increased the scale of Royal London in terms of customers (3.5 to 5.3 million) and assets under management (which increased by £20bn at the date of acquisition and is £74bn at the end of 2013).  Work is well underway to integrate the CIS businesses into the group.
 
"We have also made substantial investments in the strategic development of our business. These include system developments to ensure we can deliver excellent customer service across the group, the development of a revitalised Royal London brand and building our direct-to-consumer offering, which will bring additional revenues to the group through targeting mass market consumers not served by financial advisers."

Loney added that although they fall outside the period under review the changes to pensions announced in the Budget "are significant".

"We welcome the removal of the requirement to convert pension savings into an annuity. The increase in the trivial commutation limits is something we have long favoured but the imminent removal of all limits has fundamentally changed the way we think about pensions.
 
"Greater flexibility is certain to improve the attraction of pensions as a savings vehicle at just the time when more people than ever are joining corporate pensions as a result of automatic enrolment.
 
"We have a strong track record for innovation in the market for income drawdown and we expect many more savers to choose this option once annuities are no longer compulsory. The government's new pension policy will increase the need for good advice in the run up to retirement. 

"We look forward to working with government and our regulators to develop imaginative and effective ways of providing such guidance."

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