Royal London Asset Management  

Inflows see assets rise 22% at Royal London

Inflows see assets rise 22% at Royal London

Royal London saw its assets under management jump 22 per cent in 2019 as net inflows into its funds business increased by a third year-on-year.

In its yearly results, published today (March 17), Royal London reported Aum of £139bn for the 12 months to December 31 last year — 22 per cent higher than the £114bn for 2018 — and a 30 per cent increase in its net inflows to £9.9bn.

Large net flows and strong investment performance, with 98 per cent of active funds outperforming their three-year benchmark, were behind the increased Aum, according to Royal London.

It also saw £1.4bn of gross flows into its sustainable funds, making it a “market leader”.

Its life and pensions business fared less well, however, with new business sales down 5 per cent to £10.7bn during the year.

Royal London put this down to industry-wide decline in the level of defined benefit to defined contribution pension transfers, which saw individual new business sales drop 7 per cent.

For workplace schemes, the pension and insurance giant stated: “The market remains competitive and the quality of service demonstrated through auto-enrolment has underpinned our ability to win new scheme tenders. 

“Despite intense competition, we won 873 new employer schemes in 2019.”

Meanwhile, its UK protection arm increased its business contribution from £32m to £40m between 2018 and 2019, despite new business sales falling 8 per cent to £678m.

Royal London said this was because “improved profitability through improved management of the quality of business written” had increased the margin on sales.

Its adviser platform business, Ascentric, saw its Aum increase 12 per cent to £16.3bn throughout 2019, primarily due to market growth. 

In today’s results, Royal London said it was “exploring a number of options to help inform our future strategy”.

Last month Ascentric entered preliminary discussions involving the sale of the Royal London platform business.

Overall Royal London reported a 5 per cent increase in operating profit before tax — from £396m to £416m — and £436m of profit before tax, up from a loss of £111m in 2018.

It warned the coronavirus crisis had caused disruption to businesses and economic activity, but maintained the group was “very well capitalised” and would continue to take action to protect its capital position where appropriate.

Barry O'Dwyer, group chief executive, said: "Royal London had a successful 2019 despite last year's political and economic uncertainty. 

“Coronavirus represents a new risk for the world economy and therefore for our business. 

“Our current priority is the health and wellbeing of our colleagues so that we can continue to deliver for customers and clients.”

Kevin Parry, chairman, said: "In these challenging times for public health, insurance has never been more important. We continue to meet society's needs for high quality life insurance, investment and pension products.”

imogen.tew@ft.com

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