A recovering appetite among British and European investors boosted Aviva's performance over the first quarter of the year, with the insurer topping forecasts with a smaller-than-expected decline in sales.
Sales of life and pensions products over the first three months of the year were up 15 per cent on the final quarter of 2009, but fell by 5 per cent compared with same period last year. "Europe and the UK are the primary engines for Aviva's growth today, accounting for 85 per cent of our long-term savings sales in the first quarter," its chief executive Andrew Moss said.
On the European sovereign debt crisis, the insurer said its shareholder exposure, net of minority interests, to Greek, Spanish and Portuguese debt securities stood at £900m at the end of March. Of that, Aviva's total exposure to Greek debt stood at £150m.