Standard Life
Standard Life posts 7% rise in managed assets for first half of 2016 Reuters

UK insurer and asset manager Standard Life posted a rise in first-half pre-tax profits and assets under administration on market gains made after the UK voted to exit the European Union.

Publishing its financials on Tuesday (9 August), Standard Life said total assets under administration rose to £328bn ($428bn), up 6.7% from £307.4bn at 31 December, helped by gains made as the sterling weakened and bond yields fell after the 23 June vote.

The insurer's operating pre-tax profits rose 18% to £341m. The profits helped support a 7.5% increase in its interim dividend to 6.47p per share.

Chief Executive Keith Skeoch said: "Despite elevated uncertainty we are benefiting from our strong long-term relationships with a broad range of clients and customers who reacted in different ways to the changing market environment."

Specifically on savings and pensions, Standard Life said it had seen £900m of net inflows during the period into both product ranges.

The asset manager will continue to enhance its presence in emerging markets, as reaffirmed by chief financial officer Luke Savage, in an exclusive interview last week with IBTimes UK. Overnight, Standard Life confirmed that HDFC Life – its Indian venture – had agreed terms to merge its life insurance business with Max Group.

The transaction will be effected through a composite scheme of arrangement, the final form of which remains subject to approval by the shareholders of HDFC Life, Max Life, Max FS and Max India, as well as regulatory approvals.

Following completion of the transaction, the shares of HDFC Life will list on the Bombay Stock Exchange and the National Stock Exchange of India.

Based on current shareholdings, following completion of the transaction, the shareholders of HDFC Life would hold 69% of the enlarged HDFC Life. Standard Life, through its wholly owned subsidiary, would remain the second largest shareholder in HDFC Life with a shareholding of 24.1%.

Skeoch said: "If approved, we expect the move to cement HDFC Life's position as the leading private sector Indian life insurance business. As a result of this transaction, we will have strategic stakes in leading Indian life insurance and asset management companies."