Standard Life profits rise as investments pay off
Shares in insurer Standard Life topped the FTSE 100 risers in early trading after the insurer reported half-year profits up 44% to £262m.
Revenues from fees were higher and inflows of cash from savings rose.
"Today's results demonstrate the real progress we are making in our transformation," said chief executive David Nish.
The news prompted broker Panmure Gordon to upgrade Standard Life to "buy" from "hold", sending its shares up sharply.
Assets under management rose to £200bn in the six months to 30 June, from £197bn at 31 December 2010.
The firm said sales of self-invested pensions rose 38% during the period. It also said it was winning a higher share of corporate pension schemes.
Last year, Standard Life invested heavily in developing new technology and savings products that Mr Nish said would provide a "step up" in profitability in 2012.
Panmure analyst Barrie Cornes described the figures as "strong", saying that the transformation of the business was now starting to come through.