Standard Life set to hike dividend on back of rise in profits

Standard Lifes head office in Edinburgh. The City consensus forecast is for the life and pensions giant to report an operating profit of �684m on Friday. Picture: Neil Hanna

Standard Lifes head office in Edinburgh. The City consensus forecast is for the life and pensions giant to report an operating profit of �684m on Friday. Picture: Neil Hanna

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Life and pensions giant Standard Life is expected to hoist the dividend more than 7 per cent on the back of increased profits when it unveils its 2016 results this week.

Chief executive Keith Skeoch is set to say the Edinburgh-based life assurer’s geographical diversification, from India to China, has helped it weather the volatility in “challenging” financial markets that have been shaken by the UK’s Brexit vote and Donald Trump’s election as US president.

The City consensus forecast is for Standard Life to report an operating profit of £684 million on Friday, up nearly 3 per cent on the £665m it made in 2015.

The group is expected to announce a full-year dividend of 19.74p, up from 18.36p in the previous 12 months. Standard Life Investments (SLI), the group’s fund management business, is expected to have boosted profits to £370m, up from £342m last time.

At the interim results last August, Skeoch revealed that assets under management rose 7 per cent to £328 billion, helped by net inflows of £4bn.

Standard Life’s UK pensions and savings arm is thought to have made a profit of £303m, up from £291m in 2015. Profits from the group’s burgeoning activities in India and China are set to have risen to £38m last year, up from £27m in the previous year.

One analyst said: “Standard’s performance will have been pretty decent despite the backdrop.”

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