Simon English: It's clear why Resolution keeps things complex

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Outlook A headline from last June: Resolution leads UK resurgence in share buy-backs.

The insurer had pledged to return £500m to shareholders. It was pioneering. Daring even.

Fast-forward to this week and another headline: Resolution rules out share buy-back due to poor investment returns.

It has quit the scheme half way in. What's going on?

Resolution's results are impenetrable. It's not just me that thinks so.

"They make it complex on purpose. There are five different measures of everything," says a man who's done little but read insurance balance sheets for 20 years.

Resolution talks a good game, and chief executive John Tiner sounds plausible. But City folk think they have been misled.

The company now plans to split into two. One "zombie" company closed to new business, and one up-for-it go-getter.

This latest, typically Byzantine, scheme makes money for advisers, but for shareholders it is far from so obvious what the gain will be.

Resolution insists it is on target.

The City doesn't think so.

Clive Cowdery, the power behind Resolution, is lately involved in some entirely admirable charity projects.

He has other duties.

s.english@independent.co.uk

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