Standard Life drives Phoenix to £7bn net fund flows

Phoenix Group-Standard Life office in Lothian Road, Edinburgh

Phoenix Group Holdings plc, owner of Standard Life, said it experienced new business net fund flows of £7 billion in 2023, an 80% year-on-year increase.

“This was underpinned by improved performance in the Standard Life branded Pension & Savings and Retirement Solutions businesses, and is in line with the group’s strategy to deliver a balanced business mix through leveraging its scale in the capital-light fee-based businesses and maintaining a disciplined level of growth in annuities,” said the company in a trading statement for 2023,

Phoenix said that within its Pensions & Savings business, the Workplace business delivered net fund flows of £4.5 billion in 2023, nearly double the prior year, supported by £2 billion of new scheme assets transferred in the period.

The group said growth in its Retirement Solutions business has been driven by its Bulk Purchase Annuities (BPA) business, which completed an additional seven BPA transactions during the second half of 2023 covering £2.8 billion of premiums.

The contracted £6 billion of BPA premiums during the year, up from £4.8 billion.

“As a result of this strong performance, the group has delivered c.£1.5 billion of total new business long-term cash generation in 2023, achieving its 2025 target two years early.

“This outperformance reflects the group’s clear strategic focus and investment into growth, which has been further accelerated by a supportive economic environment.

“Total group net outflows, including the legacy Heritage business, have nearly halved in 2023 to c.£(3) billion (FY22: £(5.7) billion).

“In line with the guidance provided at our 2023 half year results, the group continues to expect its Solvency II Surplus to be slightly below the 30 June position of £3.9 billion.

“This reflects the continued investment we are making into our business, which is supporting the strong growth we have reported today.”

Phoenix Group CEO Andy Briggs said: “I am delighted that Phoenix Group has delivered another year of strong organic growth in 2023, with increased new business net fund flows supporting us in delivering £1.5bn of new business long-term cash.

“This means we have achieved our 2025 new business long-term cash target two years early, reflecting the focus and investment we have put into our growth strategy.

“Our capital-light fee-based Workplace business continues to go from strength to strength, nearly doubling its net fund flows year-on-year, including the transfer of one of the largest workplace schemes tendered in the UK market in recent years.

“Our BPA business also performed well in a buoyant market, with c.£6bn of premiums contracted at a reduced capital strain of less than 5%.”