Investments  

Asset management flows drive record profits at Royal London

Asset management flows drive record profits at Royal London

Inflows of £4.1bn from external clients helped mutual Royal London to record profits in 2018.

The company said the inflows and profits were both the largest it had ever achieved.

Assets under management at the end of the year were £114bn, which was static compared with the previous year, despite the inflows.

The mutual said volatile market conditions and the sale of its Channel Islands business contributed to assets under management staying put.

Phil Loney, chief executive of Royal London, said he expected each of the businesses in the mutual - in pensions, protection, the Ascentic platform and asset management - to grow in the year ahead.

Mr Loney added that the initial wave of new business for pension firms from auto enrollment had happened and slowed last year, while demand for pension transfers had also slowed.

He said: "There was definitely a steadying or slowing of demand for transfers across the market in 2018. Transfer values fell, the FCA expressed concern about some transfer practices and there is some evidence that professional indemnity insurance costs have risen for firms, so all of that means there has been less demand."

Mr Loney urged the government to move forward on auto enrollment, in terms of  timescales and funding.

He said he viewed the sustainable investment and multi-asset fund ranges as being an area of future growth. In the protection business, he said growth has been in the "single digits annually " for years and he expects this to continue.

The Ascentric platform, which is owned by Royal London, is in the latter stages of replatforming, with 96 per cent of clients having moved across to the new technology, though Mr Loney said it is still months from completion.

Mr Loney has said he will stand down as the mutual's chief executive by the end of 2019 to concentrate on his longstanding charitable interests.

david.thorpe@ft.com