Royal London Pensions  

Royal London sales hit by DB transfer slowdown

Royal London sales hit by DB transfer slowdown

Royal London saw its life and pension sales decrease 4 per cent in the first half of 2019, mainly due to less defined benefit transfer activity.

In a market update today (August 12), the pension provider reported new life and pension sales of £5.8bn, which compared with £6.1bn in the first six months of 2018.

Royal London saw its individual new pension sales decrease by 10 per cent to £3.2m, mainly due to a reduction in DB transfers, it stated.

However, the provider said this business area was growing as more customers reached retirement and sought greater flexibility with their pensions.

Pension transfers were expected to slow down in 2019 due to a market probe launched by the Financial Conduct Authority, which in the beginning of the year requested data from all advice firms operating in this market.

The regulator published the results of its survey of 3,015 firms in June, concluding that too much of the advice on DB transfers it had seen was "still not of an acceptable standard".

On the other hand, Royal London saw its workplace pension sales rise by 6 per cent to £1.9bn, due to new entrants into existing schemes and new scheme wins.

Since the introduction of auto-enrolment in 2012, many companies have had the same scheme for a number of years, leading to a buoying secondary market where businesses are looking to change their pension provider.

Overall, Royal London had a profit before tax of £411m in the first six months of 2019, up 116 per cent when compared with the same period in 2018, when it was £190m.

This was due to strong market performance for equities and debt securities, the provider stated.

According to Kevin Parry, Royal London’s chairman, first half trading was robust.

He said: “Royal London Asset Management won new mandates on the back of strong investment performance across asset classes.

“New business in pensions was marginally lower reflecting the industry-wide reduction in DB transfers, offset by higher workplace sales. Consumer and protection traded in line with expectations, making excellent progress in the Irish market.”

Mr Parry noted that the provider was well prepared for Brexit and continued to “maintain a robust capital foundation” to invest in its core products and propositions.