Royal London assets hit £148bn but profit falls 68%

Barry O’Dwyer

Royal London said on Friday its 2020 profit before tax fell 68% to £131 million “reflecting reduced operating profit as well as lower relative returns on UK investments in 2020 and further reductions in yields to historic lows.”

Nonetheless, assets under management increased 6% to £148 billion.

Royal London is the UK’s largest mutual life, pensions and investment company. It employs more than 1,000 in Scotland and includes the former Scottish Life and Scottish Provident businesses.

The firm said its life and pensions new business sales were 20% lower “impacted by the national lockdowns.”

Net inflows were £3.87 billion in 2020 compared to £9.89 billion in 2019 “as strong growth in demand for sustainable funds was offset by external institutional outflows.”

The mutually-owned company said its ProfitShare allocation rates to eligible customers were maintained, with total ProfitShare increasing to £146 million from £140 million “in line with the growth in the aggregate value of eligible policies.”

Royal London CEO Barry O’Dwyer said: “Our asset management business successfully navigated volatile financial markets in 2020.

“Assets under management increased to £148bn and we saw strong inflows into our sustainable funds.

“Pensions new business sales reduced, primarily due to individuals delaying the decision to consolidate their investments and fewer people moving employer during these uncertain times.

“Intermediated Protection performed strongly as a result of enhancements to our product proposition and maintaining excellent customer service.

“We have paid £13.1m in Protection claims to families of more than 2,100 customers who sadly died from Covid-19.

“As a mutual we are able to take a long-term approach despite short-term uncertainties.

“Our robust capital position has allowed us to continue our investment in systems and service to benefit our customers.

“Eligible customers will also benefit from a ProfitShare of £146m, a unique feature of mutuality which enhances the value of their savings.”