Standard Life continues successful transition into fund management

Assets rose 38 per cent to £296.6 billion and operating profits coming ahead of City forecasts at £604 million

Standard Life continued to gain momentum from insurer to fund manager last year as its assets increased to almost £300 billion.

The Edinburgh-based company bought Ignis Asset Management for £390 million in 2014 and sold its Canadian insurance arm to Manulife for C$4 billion (£2.1 billion).

The latter deal included an agreement for Manulife to sell Standard Life Investment products in North America and Asia.

In fluent business-speak, it claims to be turning into a “long-term investment savings business”.

The move seems to be paying off, with assets rising 38 per cent to £296.6 billion and operating profits coming ahead of City forecasts at £604 million.

Boss David Nish, who took home £5.4 million in pay and benefits last year, compared with £4.2 million in 2013, called for political parties to put investment at the heart of their general election manifestos.

He also called for “clarity and certainty on policy”.

Britain’s financial services industry has been hit by a raft of reforms in recent years and insurers are digesting changes to the pensions industry that mean from April savers no longer have to buy annuities when they retire.

The shares rose more than three per cent to 421.4p, topping the FTSE 100 leaderboard.

The company is paying a final dividend of 11.43p and is returning £1.75 billion to shareholders following the Canada deal.

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