Pensions  

Royal London eyes acquisitions to boost business

He argued it was the impact of having “a huge balance sheet”. 

Net inflows were up to £2.5bn, compared to £405mn in the same period last year and its flagship governed range saw net inflows of £1.5bn, with AUM stable at £51bn. 

“Our flagship is the government range, which is the default on our workplace pensions, but it's also the most popular choice for individual pensions, and that's continued to see strong net flows. 

“We think advisers are turning to the governed range because first and foremost, in tough times, people go back to the brands they trust, and advisers trust Royal London.”

He added: “We've got a fantastic range. It's got great value, great performance, great service. But just as importantly, it's a broadly diversified multi asset solution with responsible investment as standard and it's a fantastic adviser proposition. 

“It's great for their clients, and it has performed really, really well over a very long track record.”

Digital advice tool

In March, Royal London began the roll out of a “digital guidance” tool as it looked to point more of its 9mn customers to the value of advice.

“The impact has mostly been actually on customer sentiment rather than on the results because it was a free service that we offer to our work best mentioned clients,” he said.

“It's built with Wealth Wizards, and it's designed really to help people make good choices, particularly when they're facing a squeeze on household incomes like we are at the moment.”

O’Dwyer explained the new tool was about helping customers get a good financial health check, and he has seen "very strong" growth in the workplace pension volumes.

“Part of that we think is down to the strength of our offering and the breadth of our offerings,” he said. 

“The fact this comes as standard for our workplace schemes has resonated well with workplace clients and so we've done well in the first half of this year in winning new workplace schemes.”

He added although part of that was down to innovation, the other aspect [of growth] was down to its governed range. 

Meanwhile, Royal London’s protection business saw a spike during Covid but has fallen back since.

In April, Royal London expanded its 'underwrite later' option to a wider range of products after its initial launch last year.

Introduced in January 2021 for life cover on business and relevant life plans, 'underwrite later' allows clients to get cover while medical evidence is being obtained.

“We extended the regulator to other products. That's been a fantastic innovation for us and advisers love it but the protection market hasn't grown - in fact, it has fallen back in 2022.”