Auto-enrolment lifts Legal & General’s sales

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THE UK government’s recent drive to get more people paying into pension schemes helped Legal & General post record workplace sales in the first three months of this year.

The group said company pension sales more than doubled to £202 million in the first quarter as it added 120,000 workers through the new auto-enrolment scheme – and it expects to add a further 330,000 by the end of 2013.

The roll-out of auto-enrolment, which came into force for larger businesses in October, also saw sales of protection products via company schemes surge by 67 per cent as it sparked an increase in take-up of workplace death-in-service cover as more employees joined pension plans.

L&G was boosted by January’s Retail Distribution Review, the shake-up which banned commission payments to independent financial advisers. Overall sales of pensions and savings products rose by a fifth to £366m as investors sought out low-cost products not requiring advice – in-flows of these so-called “passive” retail funds were up 40 per cent in the first quarter.

• Insurer RSA also provided upbeat first-quarter figures yesterday. It reported net written premium growth of 5 per cent, to £2.3 billion. Growth was strongest in Canada, up 18 per cent, and emerging markets, where it wrote 16 per cent more premiums.