Fewer DB transfers causes drop in sales at LV

Fewer DB transfers causes drop in sales at LV

LV has reported a 27 per cent drop in sales of its life and pensions solutions during the first half of 2018 due to a fall in defined benefit transfers.

LV’s interim results for the first half of the year, published this morning (August 6), reported new business sales of £710m for its life and pensions business, down from £970m for the same period in 2018.

The company has attributed the 27 per cent drop to investor uncertainty and a fall in the number of DB transfers.

LV also saw its savings and retirement sales fall by 32 per cent from £818m in the first six months of 2018 to £560m for the same period this year. 

This was attributed to a continued decline in the pensions market since its peak in 2017 as well as a slowdown in sales of the mutual's flexible guaranteed products due to "market uncertainty in the lead up to Brexit".

But Richard Rowney, LV's chief executive, said support from IFAs had been positive after the launch of a stocks and shares Isa in June as well as a repositioning of its flexible guaranteed products to create a suite of smoothed managed funds designed to cope with market fluctuations.

He said: "The funds, which have previously only been available as bond and pension products, reduce the impact of short-term market fluctuations for investors through the unique and proven LV smoothing mechanism."

Mr Rowney said LV's pipeline of business was looking "healthy".

Despite the provider reporting £35m in pre-tax profit from continuing operations, up from £12m in 2018, life trading profits dropped from £27m in 2018 to £18m in 2019. 

This was due to factors including the continued decline in pensions to levels seen before the introduction of pension freedoms in 2015, and on-going investment market uncertainty. 

But protection sales remained relatively steady at £150m, a drop of £2m from 2018.

The results came after LV agreed to sell the remaining shareholding in its general insurance business to German insurance group Allianz in May.

LV started the process in December 2017 when it sold a 49 per cent stake in its general insurance business to Allianz for £500m, with a second transaction due to take place at the end of 2019 for £213m.

Allianz has now bought the remaining 30.1 per cent stake for £365m, bringing its total holding to 100 per cent.

In its results, LV stated that its £29m share of the general insurance result was in line with expectations, up from £5m the previous year.

Mr Rowney said: “We remain on track to separate the business by the end of 2019, well ahead of the original plan, and the value of this transaction will be reflected in our 2019 full year results.”

In May, LV appointed Clive Bolton - previously managing director of retirement solutions at Aviva Life UK - and Debbie Kennedy - former group head of protection strategy at Royal London - to lead the savings and retirement and protection businesses respectively.