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Aviva Fourth Quarter Results Print E-mail

Daily Mail - 5 February 2010 

Aviva signalled the downturn in the life and pensions market may have bottomed out yesterday as it reported a marked rebound in the fourth quarter.  

Total life and pension sales rose 21% to £8bn in the final three months of 2009. But in the UK, new sales fell by 25% in the full year to £8.9bn, the worst fall of any region. Worldwide sales for the year shrank £4bn to £36bn.

 

Mark Hodges, chief executive of Aviva UK, said this was partly due to the decision to exit less profitable business and partly due to market conditions which has created higher unemployment, and a lower demand for group pensions offered by companies.

Aviva had a capital surplus of £4.5bn at the end of 2009, compared with £2bn a year earlier, the company added.

Hodges said: 'There is good scope to grow the life business. Growth is certainly on the agenda.'

 
Standard Life: Increase to With-Profit Values Print E-mail

TEP - 26 January 2010

Standard Life has announced most of its with-profits policy customers will see year-on-year increases in their plan values.

The news comes following a review of the provider’s UK with-profits final bonus rates.

It said that in addition to increased values of plans, regular bonuses were to be maintained at current levels for over one million unitised and conventional with-profits plans.

And fewer customers with unitised plans would face market value reductions (MVR).

Standard Life said plan values depended on the level of returns being made on investments in assets in the with-profit funds.

Equity market returns, it said, had improved but not enough to recover from the downturn and assets such as fixed interest and property had delivered lower returns.

 
Aviva Hold With-Profits Bonus Rates Print E-mail

TEP - 12 January 2010

Aviva has held regular bonus rates for the vast majority of its 2.1m with-profits customers, as the country’s largest provider of the long term investments plans benefited from the market recovery.

In making its seasonal bonus rates update, Aviva said its main with-profits fund had grown by 6 per cent last year, compared with a loss of nearly 14 per cent in 2008, enabling it to hold bonus rates.

Bonus rates for Aviva’s unitised policies were maintained at 2.75 per cent, with regular bonus rate for new pensions held at 3.25 per cent. Offshore bonds rates stayed at 3.5 per cent.

Regular bonus rates for conventional policies, including endowments, were also maintained at previous levels, with the exception of ex-CGNU policies which were reduced by 0.5 per cent “to bring the guarantees on these policies in to line with the actual long term performance of the fund”.

With-profit income rates for new policies were cut to 2.5 per cent from 3.25 per cent.

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Equitable Life Boosts Members' Policy Values Print E-mail

TEP – 4 January 2010

Equitable Life announced today it was increasing the value of members' policies by up to 5.5 per cent after deciding to reintroduce interim bonuses.

The mutual life insurer will pay an interim bonus for the first time since October 2008, while it is also reversing reductions it made to policy values in March last year.

People with UK with-profits pension policies will see the biggest increase, receiving an interim bonus of 3.5 per cent and a one-off increase of 2 per cent to their policy's value.

Those with UK life policies will be paid interim bonuses of 2.8 per cent and get a one-off lift of 1.6 per cent to the value of their policy.

The announcement offers some rare good news for beleaguered policyholders, who have suffered continued uncertainty and a series of reductions in the value of their policies since the society was brought to its knees in 2000 after losing a legal battle in the House of Lords.

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UK Pound Climbs Against Euro as House Data Shows Improvement Print E-mail

TEP – 21 December 2009

The pound posted its biggest gain against the euro since October as home-buyer data indicated the UK may be poised to exit its longest recession on record, spurring demand for British assets.

The pound two days ago reached its highest level in a month ago against the 16-nation currency. British house prices advanced to a three-year high in November, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said Dec. 15. The Bank of England said Dec.18 that home-loan approvals climbed to 63,000 in November, the highest since the series began in December 2008, and up from 60,500 in October.

Sterling appreciated 1.1 percent in the week to trade at 88.87 pence per euro as of 4:50 p.m. in London. It fell 1.1 percent against the dollar to US$1.6076. The British currency has risen 7.6 percent against the euro this year and 10 percent against the dollar

“There is a good correlation between sterling and the strength of the UK housing market, and the pound is benefiting from some foreign buying,” said Neil Jones, head of European hedge fund sales at Mizuho Corporate Bank Ltd. in London. “We are seeing some interest from overseas investors looking at increasing their UK assets.”
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