Royal London’s wrap platform supports roughly 4,000 Financial Planners to manage around 95,000 pensions and savings.
Royal London agreed to sell Ascentric to M&G in May and is currently waiting for approval for the sale from the Financial Conduct Authority. The sale is expected to complete in the second half of this year.
Royal London Asset Management also saw outflows for the period. The outflows of £534m were largely driven by institutional outflows of £1.9bn and were partly mitigated by the sustainable fund range in the wholesale sector which generated £1.3bn of net inflows. Assets under management remained stable at £139bn.
Life and pensions new business sales at Royal London decreased 18% on a present value of new business premiums basis to £4,747m (H1 2019: £5,822m) due to reduced sales volumes and “contracting markets, particularly within pensions.” The drop was partially offset by intermediated protection new business sales which increased 15% to £407mover the first half of the year.
The provider saw a loss before tax of £181m for the first half of 2020, in comparison to a profit of £397m for the first half of 2019. Operating profit for the group reduced to £36m in H1 2020 (H1 2019: £90m), primarily driven by the reduction in new business volumes and increased investment in digital infrastructure.
The group said that there has not been any material adverse experience during the first half of the year due to the Coronavirus pandemic. In its results it noted that it put aside a £10m reserve for coronavirus related claims in the first half of the year.
Barry O’Dwyer, group chief executive at Royal London said: “Our focus has been on supporting customers and advisers through the challenges associated with Covid-19. In particular, we have supported policyholders who have difficulty paying premiums due to their personal circumstances by encouraging them to contact us to arrange a practical way forward to maintain cover. There has been no disruption to our award-winning customer service which was due to the immense effort from colleagues.
“In the first half of the year and despite the pandemic, we made progress on our strategic agenda, with the agreement to sell our platform business, Ascentric. We were also pleased to announce that Police Mutual would become part of Royal London. Both transactions are subject to regulatory approval.
Kevin Parry, chairman at Royal London, said: “Royal London has successfully transitioned to 98% of our people working from home, enabling us to continue to provide our normal high level of service to customers. We remained open for business without needing to ask customers to delay interaction with us and we did this without taking any Government support.
“The professionalism of our people has been outstanding. A phased return to work has been introduced for a small number of key workers and we continue to put plans in place so more of our people can revert to office-based working in a safe and measured way.
“We have paid out claims to the families of more than 1,200 customers as a result of deaths attributable to Covid-19.”