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UK insurer Phoenix hails enhance to retirement sector from excessive inflation

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Excessive inflation has supplied a lift to the UK’s retirement sector, as rising pay awards enhance the quantity that persons are placing into their pension, based on FTSE 100 life insurance coverage group Phoenix.

Official information final week confirmed UK wages grew at 7.8 per cent — the quickest tempo on file — within the three months to July as staff reacted to will increase in the price of residing by negotiating increased pay will increase with their employers. As a result of many office retirement schemes are immediately linked to salaries, any enhance in pay results in increased pension contributions.

“Counter-intuitively, so far as our sector is worried, the UK financial surroundings is accelerating our progress, so we actually are feeling constructive in regards to the market drivers of progress,” mentioned Phoenix’s chief government Andy Briggs in an interview with the Monetary Instances.

Briggs additionally pointed to a booming marketplace for bulk buy annuities, wherein firms switch their outlined profit pension schemes to insurers corresponding to Phoenix, spurred by rising rates of interest.

Increased rates of interest scale back the current worth of the schemes’ future liabilities, and so make pension switch offers extra inexpensive for firms. In accordance with consultants Lane Clark & Peacock, there was a file quantity of offers within the first half of the 12 months.

Briggs was additionally optimistic in regards to the prospect of extra mergers and acquisitions exercise. A lot of Phoenix’s progress traditionally has come from acquisitions, including closed books of life insurance coverage enterprise to its personal operations. Within the first half of the 12 months, the corporate accomplished the £250mn acquisition of Solar Lifetime of Canada UK, and Briggs expects extra offers as inflation provides to life insurers’ prices.

His feedback got here as Phoenix reported abridged outcomes for the primary half of the 12 months. New enterprise web fund flows, a measure of the quantity of latest cash that the corporate was given to handle, rose 72 per cent to £3.1bn.

Total, Phoenix’s working companies generated £898mn of money. That was down on the £950mn delivered in the identical interval final 12 months, however the firm mentioned the determine for the complete 12 months could be on the prime finish of its goal vary of £1.3bn to £1.4bn.

The primary-half dividend was elevated by 5 per cent to 26p per share.

Phoenix has delayed the publication of a full set of accounts for the primary half of the 12 months till subsequent week, blaming the “operational complexity” of the transition to the brand new IFRS 17 accounting normal.

Phoenix shares rose by just below 1 per cent in early buying and selling on Monday.

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