Expansion plans

Phoenix to use Standard Life brand as base for growth

pension pot

Phoenix: expansion plans

Phoenix, the UK’s largest long-term savings and retirement business, plans to build on the Standard Life brand after taking ownership earlier this year.

While it is no rush to make acquisitions, it will invest in the brand and look to develop its open books, said chief executive Andy Briggs. The Standard Life brand is valued at £111m in Phoenix’s latest accounts.

Phoenix buys books of closed life insurance business and bulks them up to achieve more efficiency.

Following a review of overseas businesses it disposed of Ark Life in Ireland but it will retain Standard Life International, which also has operations in Dublin and in Germany and could be used as a base for expansion in Europe.

The company doubled its cash generation and edged up its half-year dividend after a year of change.

Group operating profit came in at £527m for the half year to the end of June (H1 2020: £361m).

Assets under administration fell to £304bn (31 December 2020: £338bn) because of the planned disposals of the Wrap SIPP, Onshore Bond and TIP products to abrdn and of Ark Life.

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The company declared an interim dividend of 24.1p per share (2020 interim: 23.4p per share).

Mr Briggs said: “Phoenix has made further strong progress against our stated priorities of cash, resilience and growth. Our cash generation doubled to £872 million, we maintained a highly resilient balance sheet and we delivered 15% growth in new business long-term cash generation to £412 million.

“I am also pleased with the strategic progress we made in the period. Our ownership of the Standard Life brand will support our open growth strategy, while the disposal of Ark Life will maximise value for shareholders and simplify our European operations.

“We have made good progress against our sustainability targets, including directing almost £800 million of long-term investment into ESG-related projects and we remain well placed to support the UK to build back better and greener.”

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