Standard Life posts rise in annual profits

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Standard Life logoImage source, Getty Images

Insurer and asset manager Standard Life shook off industry "headwinds" last year to post a strong rise in profits.

The Edinburgh-based group reported that pre-tax operating profit increased by 9% in 2016 to £723m.

Assets under administration rose 16% to £357.1bn, which the group said had been driven by market movements, including the benefit of a weaker pound.

This was despite net outflows from its funds of £2.6bn, driven "largely" by its mature books of business.

Fee-based revenue increased by 5% to just over £1.65bn, with asset growth reported across all of the group's "key" growth channels - institutional, wholesale, workplace and retail.

The group said it was growing assets by "meeting the evolving and diverse needs of our clients and customers".

'Appropriate redress'

Standard Life also reported that it had set aside £175m for compensation, following the Financial Conduct Authority's (FCA) review of non-advised annuity sales last year.

In its results statement, the company said: "We are working with the FCA to put in place a process to ensure we provide affected customers with appropriate redress."

The company raised its dividend payment by 8%, with a total payout for the year of 19.82p.

Chief executive Keith Skeoch said: "Standard Life continues to make good progress towards creating a world-class investment company.

"We have increased the pace of strategic delivery, against a backdrop of volatile investment markets, with growth in assets, profits, cash flows and returns to shareholders.

"Despite industry headwinds, we are benefiting from our strengthening global brand and strong long-term relationships with a well diversified range of clients and customers."

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