Lloyds Abbey Life sales battered

Lloyds Abbey Life, the insurer controlled by Lloyds Bank, warned that job worries, higher interest rates and choppy stock markets had hit sales in 1994, and the company's shares fell 15p to 321p.

The group is due to report full-year figures on 8 February. Yesterday Lloyds Abbey admitted that single-premium sales were particularly badly hit by the company's withdrawal from the pensions transfer market.

Black Horse Financial Services, which sells products through Lloyds Bank branches, suffered a 59 per cent fall in sales of single-premium pensions in 1994 to £34.2m. Abbey Life Assurance, the stand-alone insurer which operates through 3,000 salesmen, also suffered a 39 per cent fall in single-premium pensions sales to £89.6m.

Overall, the group sold 13 per cent fewer regular-premium policies, 24 per cent fewer single-premium life products, and 38 per cent fewer unit trusts than in the previous year.

The company said market conditions and "the widespread attention given to the industry's selling standards" had adversely affected demand.

In Black Horse Financial Services, although overall sales fell, performance improved in the second half. The company said this partly reflected the sales force training programme.