Steady first-half result at Royal London as change of guard nears

Barry ODwyer is due to become group chief executive on 23 September. Picture: Contributed
Barry ODwyer is due to become group chief executive on 23 September. Picture: Contributed
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Royal London, the life and pensions mutual that employs hundreds of staff in Scotland, has said it is “well prepared for Brexit” after unveiling a robust first-half performance including record assets under management.

The results for the six months to the end of June, which included an “outstanding” investment performance, come as Standard Life veteran Barry O’Dwyer prepares to take over as chief executive.

The group announced last December that Phil Loney would be standing down by the end of this year – later confirming that he would leave the top post on 28 June but remain available to the business for the remainder of the calendar year.

Overseeing the publication of the interim results, which included a dip in new business sales, chairman Kevin Parry said: “First-half trading was robust. Royal London is well prepared for Brexit and will continue to monitor carefully any developments that might affect our business and customers.

“We will keep customers informed of significant developments relevant to their policies.

“We continue to maintain a robust capital foundation to allow us to invest in our future core products and propositions whilst also innovating to deliver better outcomes for customers in underserved markets.”

He added: “The board looks forward to welcoming Barry O’Dwyer as group chief executive on 23 September.”

During the first half, assets under management hit a record level of £130 billion, up from £114bn at the end of 2018, helped by market growth of £10.5bn and net inflows of £5.5bn.

Profit before tax, measured on an IFRS basis, leapt 116 per cent to £411m, compared with the same period last year, due to strong market performance for equities and debt securities.

Operating profit, on a European embedded value basis, was flat, year-on-year, at £187m.

While net inflows were 31 per cent higher at £5.5bn, new business sales dipped 4 per cent at just over £5.8bn.