Phoenix boosts dividend on new business growth
Phoenix Group, which now includes the Standard Life brand, has reported strong half-year growth as the cost of living squeeze encourages customers to focus on their retirement plans.
The company posted a a 106% year-on-year increase in first half incremental new business long-term cash generation to £885m (H1 2022: £430m). This comprised £665m from Retirement Solutions (H1 2022: £282m).
There was a 72% year-on-year increase in new business net fund flows to £3.1bn (H1 2022: £1.8bn).
Phoenix said it is now on track to deliver positive group net fund flows from 2024, for the first time in its history.
The board has declared a 2023 Interim dividend of 26.0 pence per share, equal to the 2022 final dividend, which is a 5% year-on-year increase (H1 2022: 24.8 pence).
CEO, Andy Briggs said: “As the UK’s largest long-term savings and retirement business, Phoenix is executing on its single strategic focus – helping customers journey to and through retirement.
“We also grew inorganically, with the completion of the Sun Life of Canada UK acquisition, with c.20% of the purchase price received in cash generation in just 3 months, and we are confident of executing further M&A over time.”
Standard Life CEO, Andy Curran, said: “Standard Life has performed strongly this year, building on momentum created in 2022 and capitalising on the strength of our brand and propositions in our chosen markets.
“Solid growth across our Workplace pensions business in the first six months of the year reflects our ongoing investment with us winning more of the bigger schemes in the market. We have also attracted around £3bn of new scheme assets that are due to transfer to us over the next two years, while we are also quoting on a significant pipeline of new schemes.
“Our Retirement Solutions business is also experiencing similar momentum with £3.2bn of BPA premiums contracted in the first half of 2023. We are winning more schemes on a selective participation basis while maintaining a balanced business mix in a competitive marketplace.
“This ability to support both modern auto-enrolment schemes and de-risking of older style defined benefit pension as well as the wider retail savings market means we are aligned to a number of huge growth markets and this strategy continues to drive strong year-on-year growth in new business cash.
“The challenges posed by the cost-of-living crisis means customers are increasingly seeking greater certainty as they plan for their future. We have taken a number of significant steps to help them, launching our first open market individual annuity to meet this need and rolling out Money Mindset, our financial wellness digital coaching tool that helps customers better understand and manage their finances.
“However, the current environment puts the financial needs of people in sharp focus and more needs to be done in the UK to provide support for all to help them make more sense of their finances and give them more personal information and support.”