Standard Life in Canada reports strong advances in business growth and net income for first half of 2008



    
    - Premiums and deposits rise 19% to $2.7 billion for first six months of
      2008 compared to same period in fiscal 2007

    - Net income increases 56% to $122 million compared to $79 million for
      the first half of 2007
    

    MONTREAL, Aug. 6 /CNW Telbec/ - The Standard Life Assurance Company of
Canada, part of Standard Life plc's group of companies, today reported strong
advances in business growth and net income(1) for the six months ended June
30, 2008. Premiums and deposits rose 19% to $2.7 billion(2) compared to
$2.3 billion for the same period in 2007. Net income increased 56% to
$122 million, compared to $79 million for the first six months in 2007. First
half results reflect strong underlying sales growth, continued good client
retention and an improvement in the profitability of new business. Continued
strong investment performance was also an important factor in profitability
with Standard Life relatively unaffected by the credit crisis prevailing in
the financial services industry due to the Company's prudent investment
strategies. On-going efforts to improve the overall efficiency of operations
and growth in the wealth management business have also contributed to
profitability.
    "Growing our business was a primary focus in the first half of 2008,"
said Joseph Iannicelli, President and Chief Executive Officer. "In line with
our growth strategy, we significantly increased our visibility in the Canadian
marketplace, specifically underscoring our 175th anniversary and our expertise
in the retirement market. We increased sales staff in our retail operations by
more than 50 percent during the first six months, and we made significant
investments in staff training. While we are pleased with our results in the
first half, the impact of our increased sales force will begin to be felt in
the second half of the year. We also took important steps to increase our
sales capacity in group savings and retirement and group insurance. Standard
Life is a leader in Canada in retirement programs and we are taking every
possible means to emphasize and enhance that leadership position."

    Achievement highlights - First half

    During the first half, Standard Life's Group Savings and Retirement
(GS&R) line of business in Canada succeeded in expanding the services it
currently offers to Hudson's Bay Company (Hbc). Leveraging Standard Life's
expertise in the retirement market and its existing relationship in managing
the client's defined contribution plan, the companies reached an agreement to
consolidate a large part of Hbc's defined benefit plan with Standard Life. At
the same time, GS&R introduced innovative online tools to help members of
defined contribution group retirement plans be more engaged in the management
of their retirement while providing the companies that sponsor their plans
with a new one-stop access to information and self-service features.
    Group Life and Health's (GL&H) sales volumes have benefited from Standard
Life's expertise and continued focus in disability and absence management.
Standard Life is providing counsel on best practices, techniques and highly
specialized case managers to mitigate the length and impact of employee
absences.
    Standard Life is also increasingly pursuing cross selling initiatives
within its group lines of business and leveraging the Company's global
expertise. These initiatives are expected to contribute to further growth in
sales and net income over the coming quarters.
    Shortly after the close of the first half, Standard Life Mutual Funds
Ltd. announced the launch of the Standard Life India Equity Focus Fund, one of
the first funds in Canada to capitalize on opportunities in India's fast
growing economy, as well as a T-Series for ten Standard Life existing funds
and two new Portrait Portfolio fund-of-funds.
    Standard Life in Canada also won two awards in the 2008 Insurance and
Financial Communicators Association annual competition. Both its annual fund
raising campaign "Step Up for the Children with Standard Life" and its
Portrait and Ideal Portfolios micro site were recognized.
    As part of its 175th anniversary celebrations in Canada, Standard Life is
commemorating the event with the creation of a $1.75 million endowment fund to
enhance the Company's current community investment program. Standard Life's
head office in Edinburgh, Scotland, has committed $1 million and the Company's
Canadian employees will raise $750,000 to reach the $1.75 million mark.
Details on the use of the fund will be announced later this year.

    About Standard Life

    In 2008, Standard Life, the first life insurance company to transact
business in Canada, marks its 175th year of operations. With 10,000 employees
globally, Standard Life plc is a major international financial services group
headquartered in Scotland. It provides asset-managing services for retirement,
investment and protection to some 7 million customers globally and has
$330 billion in assets under administration. It has offices in the United
Kingdom, Canada, Ireland, Germany, Austria, India and China, including Hong
Kong.
    The Standard Life Assurance Company of Canada is Standard Life plc's
largest operation outside the U.K., with 2,000 employees based in Montreal and
across Canada, serving more than 1.3 million Canadians, including group
insurance and pension plan participants. (www.standardlife.ca)
    Standard Life plc has approximately 1.5 million shareholders worldwide,
including approximately 14,000 institutional and individual shareholders in
Canada. It has been trading on the London Stock Exchange since The Standard
Life Assurance Company demutualized in 2006. Standard Life plc is listed on
the FTSE 100, Europe's largest index, and on the FTSE4Good Index, which
identifies companies adhering to globally recognized corporate responsibility
standards. (www.standardlife.com)

    Forward-looking statements

    This press release may contain forward-looking statements about certain
of Standard Life's current plans, goals and expectations relating to future
financial conditions, performance, results, strategy and objectives.
Statements containing the words: 'believes', 'intends', 'expects', 'plans',
'seeks' and 'anticipates' and any other words of similar meaning are
forward-looking. All forward-looking statements involve risk and uncertainty
because they relate to future events and circumstances beyond Standard Life's
control. As a result, Standard Life's actual financial condition, performance
and results may differ materially from the plans, goals and expectations set
out in the forward-looking statements. The Company will not undertake any
obligation to update any of the forward-looking statements in this press
release or any other forward-looking statements that it may make.

    
    NOTES TO EDITORS:
    1. Mr. Christian Martineau, Senior Vice-President, Finance and I.T., is
       available for interviews.

    2. Standard Life plc published its 2008 half-year results on August 6,
       2008 which are available on www.standardlife.com, at
    <a href="http://ukgroup.standardlife.com/content/news/new_articles/2008/2008_interim_results.xml">http://ukgroup.standardlife.com/content/news/new_articles/2008/2008</a>
    <a href="http://ukgroup.standardlife.com/content/news/new_articles/2008/2008_interim_results.xml">_interim_results.xml</a>
    

    ----------------------------------------
    (1) Based on Canadian GAAP measures.
    (2) All dollar figures in this release are expressed in Canadian dollars.




For further information:

For further information: Ann-Marie Gagné, Standard Life, (514) 499-7999,
ext. 4600, ann-marie.gagne@standardlife.ca

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