Royal London operating profit up 11% to £244m

Royal London said on Thursday its 2015 operating profit rose 11% to £244 million, lifted by a steep rise in new business.

The UK’s largest mutual life, pensions and investment company employs more than 1,000 in Scotland, including staff at the former Scottish Life business.

Royal London’s new life and pensions business rose 40% on a “present value of new business premiums basis” to £6.77 billion.

Operating profit before tax and exceptional items was £244 million on a “European embedded value basis.”

Embedded value gives a net present value for the expected future cash flow of the company.

Group funds under management rose 3% to £84.5 billion.

“Our strategy continues to produce pleasing results and over the last four years Royal London has doubled its life and pension sales and has nearly doubled assets under management,” said Phil Loney, group chief executive of Royal London.

“The last year saw a record breaking trading performance which brought with it a healthy increase in operating profit.

“New business growth was particularly strong with sales of group pensions and income drawdown products going from strength to strength.

“The fourth quarter of the year saw pension sales reach new highs which is especially satisfying as it follows on from the announcement that we will in future be sharing part of our profits with pension customers through our unique ProfitShare arrangement.”

Loney added that Royal London remained well capitalised, with its surplus regulatory capital increasing to £3.53 billion from £3.39 billion in 2014.

British people older than 55 are no longer required to buy an annuity, which provides a fixed income for the rest of their lives, and are now investing some of their savings in other pension investment fund products.