Royal London assets up to record £153bn

Barry O’Dwyer

Royal London said on Thursday its assets under management increased to a record high of £153 billion in the six months ended June 30, 2021, compared to £148 billion at the end of December 2020.

The mutual firm said it made a profit before tax of £228 million in the first half of 2021 compared to a loss of £181 million for the same period last year “due to higher returns on UK investments and yield increases during the first half of 2021.”

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.

Royal London said life and pensions new business sales were down 3% at £4.62 billion.

“Protection products have continued to sell strongly in the UK and Ireland in the first half of the year,” said the firm.

“Pensions new business sales have recovered from the lower levels in the second half of 2020 but are below pre-pandemic levels.”

Net inflows slumped to £405 million from £997 million in the first half of 2020.

“Demand for our sustainable funds remains strong,” said Royal London.

“Net inflows have been impacted by institutional outflows and a reduced level of internal flow from our individual pension business.

“97% of actively managed funds outperformed their three-year benchmark (H1 2020: 60%).”

Royal London CEO Barry O’Dwyer said: “During the first half of 2021, we paid claims totalling over £397m to families who faced a life shock, whether that was someone contracting a serious illness or dying.

“In the same period, we helped our pension customers to invest £4bn in their futures.

“We welcomed 86,000 new workplace pension customers to Royal London, many of whom are starting their journey in what will hopefully become a lifetime of investing.

“Our strong credentials as a sustainable asset manager and an increasing societal focus on responsible investment continues to drive strong flows into our award-winning funds ranges.

“We believe that our reputation for investing responsibly, combined with our mutual status and the way we share our profits with eligible customers, means we have a uniquely attractive offer, helping Royal London customers to protect their families against life shocks whilst investing in a better future.”