Standard Life reports improved 2009 results in Canada

Note: All figures are based on Canadian GAAP measures and shown in Canadian dollars. Unless otherwise stated, all comparisons are with the corresponding period of 2008.

MONTREAL, March 10 /CNW Telbec/ - Standard Life Financial Inc. today reported net income in 2009 increased to $109 million (2008: $3 million).

"In Canada, Standard Life has delivered a strong performance in 2009, despite the uncertain market conditions. We have delivered significant growth in our core segments of retail investment funds, defined contribution pensions and disability management," said Joseph Iannicelli, President. "We are particularly encouraged by the sustained progress in our retail business following its repositioning, and by top marks(1) advisors gave our sales team this year."

Total net inflows of $639 million (2008: $665 million) in 2009 reflect higher sales in the company's retail business, and lower deposits in the group savings and retirement business. Overall premiums and deposits decreased by 2% to $4,627 million (2008: $4,725 million). Excluding a large defined benefit administration mandate secured in 2008, premiums and deposits increased by 12%. Premiums and deposits in the final quarter were 12% higher than in Q4 of 2008 following a good performance in retail products.

In 2009, individual retirement, savings and insurance premiums and deposits increased by 42% to $1,225 million (2008: $864 million) with strong sales growth of 40% achieved in the fourth quarter amid continued signs of a recovery in the Canadian retail market. Sales of guaranteed-interest products were particularly strong, increasing 228% to $481 million. Segregated fund sales were 25% higher, with an increase of 132% in the fourth quarter due to the competitiveness of the products launched in 2009. The market for mutual funds was challenging for the majority of the year, with deposits 11% lower at $400 million (2008: $447 million). Nevertheless, following a recovery in equity markets, fourth quarter deposits were 35% higher at $123 million (2008: $91 million).

Within group savings and retirement, premiums and deposits in the company's core defined contribution segment increased by 10% to $1,973 million (2008: $1,793 million). However, overall group savings and retirement premiums and deposits of $2,378 million were 15% lower due to the impact of the large defined benefit administration mandate noted above.

Group insurance premiums were up 2% to $622 million (2008: $609 million), thanks to new business from both new and existing clients, and in spite of strong comparatives in 2008 and market contraction due to the economic environment. The continued strength of the company's disability management proposition led to a solid fourth quarter.

Capital strength maintained

The Standard Life Assurance Company of Canada reported a solvency ratio of 213% (December 31, 2008: 198%; September 30, 2009: 206%), without any need to access additional capital. The Company also preserved its good credit profile, experiencing no defaults in its corporate bond and mortgage loan portfolios despite worsening credit experience in the market.

Outlook

Standard Life is entering 2010 with confidence, although the external environment is likely to remain uncertain. It aims to build on the momentum achieved in 2009, with the goals of expanding sales and distribution capabilities, as well as introducing new products that continue to meet customers' needs for financial security. This focus should result in continued success in all three lines of business in 2010 and improved profitability through sustained operational efficiency.

Mr. Iannicelli concluded: "High quality customer service is the basis of our growth strategy. We will continue to focus on client retention and building strong customer and distributor relationships. Our aspiration is to provide our customers with the confidence to look forward to a well planned financial future as a consequence of long-term savings and investment propositions we have provided."

About Standard Life

Standard Life is a major long-term savings and investments group headquartered in Scotland and operating across the globe. Established in 1825, Standard Life provides retirement, investment and insurance products to over 6.5 million customers worldwide. The group has around 10,000 employees across the U.K., Canada, Ireland, Germany, Austria, India, Hong Kong and mainland China. It had $300.7 billion in assets under administration, as at December 31, 2009.

In 2006, after 80 years as a mutual company, The Standard Life Assurance Company demutualized and Standard Life plc was listed on the London Stock Exchange. Standard Life now has approximately 1.5 million individual shareholders in over 50 countries.

In Canada, Standard Life has been doing business for more than 175 years. Standard Life Financial Inc., which wholly owns The Standard Life Assurance Company of Canada and Standard Life Mutual Funds Ltd., is Standard Life plc's largest operation outside the U.K. With 2,000 employees based in Montréal and offices across Canada, it serves more than 1.3 million Canadians, including group insurance and retirement plan participants. It had $36 billion of assets under administration, as at December 31, 2009.

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.

    
    (1) Environics Research Group, Advisor Perception Study - Investment
        Report, 2009
    

Note to editors:

You can access Standard Life plc (LSE: SL.L) 2009 results published earlier today from the Latest News section of our website, at www.standardlife.ca

SOURCE Standard Life

For further information: For further information: Ann-Marie Gagné, Manager, External Communications and Public Affairs, Standard Life, 1-877-499-9555 ext. 4600, (514) 499-7999 ext. 4600, ann-marie.gagne@standardlife.ca

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