Economy Standard Life 2015 operating profit beats forecasts

Standard Life 2015 operating profit beats forecasts

 Standard Life House in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Standard Life House in Edinburgh, Scotland.

British insurer and asset manager Standard Life (SL.L) posted an above-forecast pre-tax operating profit of 665 million pounds ($952.01 million) for 2015 on Friday.

Analysts in a company-supplied forecast had expected operating profit before tax of 616 million pounds.

Assets under administration rose 4 percent to 307.4 billion pounds.

Edinburgh-headquartered Standard Life has been increasing its focus on flexible drawdown pensions and its asset management arm, rather than traditional insurance products such as annuities, which give pensioners a fixed income for life.

Standard Life said its solvency capital ratio under new European capital rules was 162 percent of the minimum requirement.

A ratio of 100 percent means an insurer has set aside enough capital to meet underwriting, investment and operational risks.

“While the difficult conditions in global financial markets may persist for some time, Standard Life remains well positioned to meet the needs of clients and customers around the world,” chief executive Keith Skeoch said in a trading statement.

The company said it would pay a total dividend of 18.36 pence per share.

JP Morgan Cazenove reiterated its overweight rating on the stock, saying in a note that: “we see these as a strong set of results”.