Standard Life UK attributes 6% profit fall to maintenance expenses

Standard Life’s UK pre-tax operating profit dropped 6% from £234m in 2010 to £220m in 2011 due to lagging equity markets in the second half of the year and increased maintenance expenses.

Standard Life says maintenance expenses increased mainly because of the impact of the acquisition of Focus Solutions, which accounted for maintenance costs of £15m during 2011.

The provider’s preliminary 2011 results show its wrap platform now has 196,800 customers with total assets under administration of £11.4 billion. Some 999 adviser firms had signed up to the wrap platform as of December 31, 2011.

Total Sipp assets under administration increased 10% from £14.9 billion in 2010 to £16.4 billion in 2011 as the provider’s total Sipp customers rose 25% to 134,200.

UK corporate pension sales were up 30%, from £3 billion in 2010 to £3.9 billion in 2011, with the provider set to launch its automatic enrolment employee benefits solution in the third quarter this year.

As a group, Standard Life recorded pre-tax operating profits of £544m for 2011, a 28% increase on the £425m posted in 2010.

David Nish, chief executive of Standard Life, says: “We have delivered increased operating profits and cash flow while investing to strengthen our market propositions.

“We have developed innovative propositions to respond to the changing needs of our consumers and their advisers, ensuring we are well positioned to benefit from market changes and the new regulatory environment.

“In the year ahead, we expect to see the work that we have done as part of the transformation programme to reinforce our clear leading positions in our chosen markets.”