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Pru to weather the RDR storm

The chief executive of the global insurer said the strength of its products and brand will “position the company well” once advisers have adaped to a post-RDR world.

The RDR was blamed for driving down annual premium equivalent sales by 13 per cent and retail new business profits by 5 per cent. However, Mr Thiam maintained that the company would continue to focus on “value over volume” and that the US and UK businesses would continue to drive the company.

Writing in the group’s 51-page 2013 results, Mr Thiam said RDR and the introduction of gender neautral pricing also fuelled strong sales of onshore bonds and individual annuities in 2012 that have skewed figures for 2013.

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Mr Thiam said the Asian markets were “at the heart of our future prospects”, despite its failure to buy AIA, the Asian insurance arm of US group AIG, in 2010.

The ambitious acquisition, worth $35.5bn (£24.6bn) at the time, fell through when AIG rejected Prudential’s attempts to negotiate a lower asking price amid shareholder pressure.

Dan Clayden, director of Devon-based Clayden Associates, said: “Life companies still have much to offer but as with any business, you cannot stand still, and these major distributors must adapt to the ever-changing landscape. Introducing their own platforms has been a must, as has innovating in areas like protection. However, the Pru must be careful that its own campaign to get the nation healthy through PruProtect does not prove too clever for its own good and deter customers who want a simpler product.”

Highlights:

Operating profit in the UK life arm increased by £3m to £706m between 2012 and 2013.

New business profits decreased from £313m in 2012 to £297m in 2013

Annual premium equivalent sales fell from £836m to £725m year on year.