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Standard's new platform takes cue from guided architecture

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Standard's new platform takes cue from guided architecture

Standard Life plans to launch a new investment proposition with 'elements' of guided architecture in the next six weeks and has reported a 10% increase in operating profit in its half year results.

The Edinburgh-based insurer has seen operating profits grow to £182 million from £166 million (IFRS) in the first six months of 2009 based on strong inflows into Standard Life Investments, Standard Life Wrap and Sipps.  

Standard Life boosted its profits by releasing £46 million from UK and Canadian annuity reserves which helped offset its £28 million investment into the business. The insurer has proposed paying shareholders a 4.35p interim dividend which is a 4.8% increase on the 4.15p dividend paid out in 2009.  

‘This strong set of results demonstrates the progress we have made as a business and the potential for increased profits and dividends as we invest for growth,’ said David Nish (pictured), chief executive of Standard Life.  

Nish said that the new online investment proposition was designed to help financial advisers and consumers build and manage investment portfolios. The new service would have ‘elements’ of guided architecture, Nish added.  

‘It is very much about how to help IFAs make decisions around portfolio construction of investments,’ said Nish. ‘Both corporate and individuals are looking at the construct of their portfolios and money management so it [the new proposition] is really tools and fund ranges to help them do that.’ 

Standard Life increased its sales by 29% to £9.6 billion from £7.5 billion (based on the present value of new business premiums) for the first six months of 2009 which was well ahead of the consensus forecast from analysts of £8.9 billion. 

Standard Life has seen net inflows into its long-term savings operation triple to £2.45 billion from £767 million in 2009 helping grow its assets under administration by 5% to £179 billion from £170 billion in December 2009.  

Standard Life Wrap has grown its assets under administration by 36% to £4.9 billion from £3.6 billion in December as on average one adviser a day signed up to use the platform over the last six months.  

The insurer noted that while its wrap and Sipp products had performed well money continues to flow out of its legacy products. It reported that net outflows from its UK retail business slowed to £404 million from £1.1 billion in the first half of 2009.  

Analyst Panmure downgraded Standard Life from a buy to a hold, while shares fell 3.9%, or 8.58p to 207.7 at 8.58am.

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