Markets: Pension change looms at Standard Life

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STANDARD Life will seek to ­further reassure investors that it is ready for auto-enrolment when it updates on its first-quarter trading on Wednesday.

The Edinburgh-based group has spent £600 million preparing for changes under both pensions auto-enrolment and the Retail Distribution Review (RDR), which took effect at the start of this year.

Both are having a significant impact on the market, with the RDR banning commission payments to financial advisers for selling certain products. Analysts at Exane BNP Paribas expect net flows of new UK life and pensions business to return to “a more normal level” following a surge in outflows ahead of the RDR deadline.

Meanwhile, fund management business Standard Life Investments (SLI) is expected to show a strong performance.

Experts at JP Morgan Cazenove are equally bullish on SLI, but less enthusiastic about the prospects for new business sales, which they project will remain flat at £5 billion.

The consensus forecast predicts an increase of 6 per cent.New sales driven by auto-enrolment are expected to gather momentum in the second half of this year.

The week ahead

Monday: Reckitt Benckiser

Tuesday: ARM Holdings, Associated British Foods

Wednesday: Barclays, GSK, Redrow, Thorntons

Thursday: AstraZeneca, Spirit Pub, Unilever

Friday: Pearson, WPP