Consolidator  

Life and pension consolidator to launch client portal

Life and pension consolidator to launch client portal
Utmost's group chief executive, Paul Thompson

Utmost Life and Pensions is gearing up to launch an online platform for UK clients in mid-2022 called ‘MyUtmost’.

Announced in its financial results published this week (April 28), the portal will enable customers to see their details, review up-to-date policy values, look at statements and correspondence and to manage their investments by switching funds.

The life assurance and pension consolidator hired a chief technology officer, Dan Peacock from AIG, in July last year to lead the UK business’ digitalisation.

Part of Utmost Group, which is based in the UK but operates internationally, the UK business manages around £7bn of assets on behalf of 350,000 policyholders.

Until recently, Utmost Group has focused on expanding its international arm, which already has an online portal and acquired Quilter International in November, a business which made an £88mn operating profit last year.

Almost half of the offshore business's life assurance clients reside in the UK, but by servicing the products offshore Utmost allows them trade their assets tax-free as their gross value rolls up much like a tax-deferral pension.

Now the consolidator is looking to flesh out its UK business, which is focused on the mass rather than high-net-worth market. Currently, the company is eyeing up “one or two sizeable deals” to do this year.

Overall, group assets under administration grew 74 per cent last year, from £36.7bn to £63.7bn, which was largely down to the Quilter International acquisition and £1.5bn of net flows for its international business.

This was a marked improvement on the prior year, which recorded equal inflows and outflows.

"2021 has been a seminal year for the group,” said group chief executive Paul Thompson.

“As the results demonstrate, every strategic decision we have made has contributed to our strong growth momentum.”

He added: "The group is at an exciting juncture. Driven by the entrepreneurial spirit of our teams, I am confident we can capitalise on Utmost's excellent progress to further strengthen our leadership position in the insurance and savings market.”

Overall, the group’s operating profit reached £132mn in 2021 (excluding Quilter International) compared with £92mn the previous year. The group said this was both down to “favourable” insurance results for its UK arm, and a “continued robust operating profit” overseas.

In its results, the company also included an update on its capital raise. Having raised a £400mn Tier 2 bond last year, it has since completed a second issuance in January, raising £300mn of restricted Tier 1 notes.

Towards the end of last year, Utmost’s equity value sat at around £1.6bn. The firm intends to float when its equity value is in the billions, it has said.

ruby.hnchliffe@ft.com