Brexit impact looms large over Standard Life results

Analysts have pencilled in operating profits before tax of �314 million for Edinburgh-headquartered Standard Life. Photograph: Neil Hanna

Analysts have pencilled in operating profits before tax of �314 million for Edinburgh-headquartered Standard Life. Photograph: Neil Hanna

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Pensions and savings giant Standard Life is expected to post a strong performance for the first half of the year, but the City’s focus will be on its views on the potential impact of Brexit.

Analysts have pencilled in operating profits before tax of £314 million for the Edinburgh-headquartered group, up more than 8 per cent on the same period last year.

Standard Life Investments (SLI) is expected to see double-digit gains in profits to £175m, up 13 per cent on the £154m seen last year. Rising stock markets are expected to have helped assets under administration reach £313.9 billion, up from £302bn at the same stage last year. Shareholders are expected to see the interim dividend increase by just over 7 per cent to 6.45p a share.

Shares in Standard Life had been hit “overly hard post-Brexit”, said Barrie Cornes, an analyst at Panmure Gordon. “Despite investment markets recovering, Standard Life’s shares have failed to recover. We view the shares as very attractively priced,” said Cornes, who has a price target of 433p on the shares compared to Friday’s close of 314.7p – which is down about 10 per cent on the price before the Brexit vote.

Last week rival Aviva cheered investors with bumper rises in profits and dividends on the back of strong growth in its life division.

Ahead of the Brexit vote, Standard Life chairman Sir Gerry Grimstone said the firm believed access to the EU single market was in the best interests of its customers. However, chief executive Keith Skeoch also stressed that continental Europe was a relatively small part of the group’s overall business.

Following the vote, Standard Life – which is due to release its numbers on Tuesday – was one of a number of fund managers which suspended dealing in their UK property funds after a rush of redemption requests as a result of the Brexit vote.

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