Standard Life reiterates indy fears as profits rise

Standard Life today reported a rise in first-half profits and repeated its warning that a Yes vote in next month’s independence referendum would create a number of “material issues” for the life and pensions group.

The Edinburgh-based firm had said in its annual report, published earlier this year, that it was concerned over the uncertainty surrounding which currency a separate Scotland would use and whether the country would remain a member of the European Union.

It also highlighted the landscape for financial services regulation and individual taxation – particularly around savings and pensions – and said it was unclear how any changes could affect its 4 million UK customers.

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Standard Life said today: “We do not believe that further clarity has been provided on any of these issues since our 2013 annual report and accounts was published on 27 February.

“We are continuing the development of our contingency plans to ensure continuity of our businesses’ competitive position and to protect the interests of our customers and other stakeholders.”

The comments came as Standard Life reported an underlying pre-tax profit of £339 million for the first half of 2014, up 12 per cent on a year earlier, as assets under administration grew 4 per cent to £254.1 billion.

Shareholders are in line for an interim dividend of 5.6p a share, an increase of 7.3 per cent on last time.