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Feb 27, 2015

Standard Life fund arm still unhappy with governance at Sports Direct, Afren

LONDON, Feb 27 (Reuters) – Standard Life Investments (SLI),
the fund arm of insurer Standard Life, said on Friday it
remained unhappy with governance at British companies Sports
Direct, Afren and Micro Focus International
.

The asset manager, which has 246 billion pounds ($380
billion) in funds under management, voted against management
recommendations in 907 resolutions in 2014, it said in its
annual governance and stewardship review.

Feb 27, 2015

Old Mutual seeks growth from existing businesses as profits jump

LONDON (Reuters) – Financial services company Old Mutual (OML.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) is to focus this year on getting value from its existing businesses after reporting a 16 percent rise in 2014 operating profit that sent its shares to a record high.

The Anglo-South African group, which has a majority stake in South African bank Nedbank (NEDJ.J: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), went on a hiring spree last year but is in no rush to do more.

Feb 26, 2015

RSA swings into profit, targets more cost-cutting

LONDON, Feb 26 (Reuters) – Insurance company RSA
swung into profit in 2014 under the stewardship of former Royal
Bank of Scotland boss Stephen Hester but announced further
cost-cutting and the departure of its chief financial officer.

The firm, best known for its More Than home and motor
insurance brand, has been trying to turn itself around after
posting losses in 2013 following a series of weather-related
claims and an accounting scandal at its Irish unit.

Feb 25, 2015

UK fund manager Henderson’s profits rise 13 pct, Q4 inflows weaken

LONDON, Feb 25 (Reuters) – A strong performance in European
equity strategies helped to push asset manager Henderson’s
underlying profit up 13 percent in 2014, the company
said on Wednesday, and assets under management hit record highs.

But weaker net inflows in the fourth quarter led some
analysts to question whether the performance was sustainable.

Feb 24, 2015

Just Retirement defies pension reform fears, shares soar

LONDON, Feb 24 (Reuters) – Strong sales of insurance for
company pension schemes have helped Britain’s Just Retirement
to cope with reforms that have led to a drop in
individual pension annuities, it said on Tuesday, sending its
shares surging 18 percent.

Britain’s pension sector was thrown into turmoil last year
when the government said it would, from April this year, end the
requirement for retirees to use their pension savings to buy an
income-providing annuity.

Feb 19, 2015

Swiss Re posts special dividend, buyback after Q4 profits lag

LONDON, Feb 19 (Reuters) – Swiss Re, the world’s
second largest reinsurer, sweetened the hit from
forecast-lagging fourth-quarter results on Thursday by
announcing a special dividend and share buyback.

The Zurich-based firm said quarterly net profit was $245
million, against the $361 million seen in a poll of analysts by
Reuters.

Feb 18, 2015

Britain’s pension shake-up expected to hit life insurers’ profits

LONDON, Feb 18 (Reuters) – A shake-up of British pensions,
which gives savers more freedom over what they do with pension
pots, is expected to hit life insurers’ profits when the
companies start reporting 2014 results in the next few weeks.

The UK government last year surprised the industry with
plans to allow pensioners to spend their pension savings as they
choose, rather than having to buy an annuity, which gives an
income for life and is a big source of income for many insurers.

Feb 15, 2015

Insurers prove laggards in technology race

LONDON, Feb 15 (Reuters) – At a time the financial sector is
racing to embrace digital technology to boost sales and drive
profits, the traditionally staid insurance industry is in danger
of falling behind.

Some insurers are using developments such as telematics, or
social media sources, to increase the amount of information they
have about customers to reduce claims and theoretically make
insurance cheaper for all.

Feb 12, 2015

Royal London warns on British pension reforms

LONDON, Feb 12 (Reuters) – Looming British pension reforms
that give more freedom in planning for the costs of retirement
have been ill-planned and run the risk of consumers making poor
financial choices, a major pensions supplier warned on Thursday.

Royal London, Britain’s largest mutually owned
life, pensions and investment company, was speaking weeks before
reforms take effect which mean pensioners will no longer be
forced to use their pension pots to buy an annuity, which gives
an income for life.

Feb 6, 2015

Standard Life to offer financial advice with Pearson Jones buy

LONDON (Reuters) – Insurer Standard Life (SL.L: Quote, Profile, Research) has entered the UK financial advice business by buying British firm Pearson Jones from Skipton Building Society (SKI_p.L: Quote, Profile, Research), responding to pension reforms that will boost demand.

Britain’s fourth-biggest insurer, with a market capitalization of just under 10 billion pounds, said on Friday Pearson Jones had 1.1 billion pounds ($1.69 billion) in assets under advice. It did not disclose the purchase price.

    • About Carolyn

      "I have worked at Reuters for more than 20 years but I switched in Sept 2014 to a new beat - insurance and fund management. I write about things like insurance deals, fund trends, geopolitical risks insured by Lloyd's and I'm grappling with understanding company accounts. In my vanishingly small spare time, I hope to contribute more to Reuters entertainment file."
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