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Storebrand boosted by Norway’s pension regulations

NORWAY - Following the introduction of mandatory group pension schemes in Norway earlier this year financial group Storebrand could secure 7,200 new mandatory occupational pension schemes, 3,350 of them in the third quarter.

This adds to the group profit of NOK 1.1bn (€ 132m) for the first nine months of 2006 compared to NOK 1.4bn for the same period last year.

Storebrand Life Insurance reports a net inflow of pension reserves of NOK 4.8bn for the year to date, of which this three-month period accounted for NOK 1.4bn.

"In the market for mandatory occupational pension schemes, Storebrand had set up schemes covering around 150,000 employees by the close of Q3. A number of major new schemes have been agreed since the end of the quarter," a press release on the results stated.

The life company's investment portfolio showed solid returns of 2.3% in the third quarter, and 4.7% for the first nine months.

Elsewhere, Swiss global group UBS saw its third-quarter results falling by 21%. Net income fell to CHF2.2bn (€1.4bn) while revenue rose 1% to CHF10.5bn.

"The effects of the May and June market correction continued to be felt through lower institutional and private client trading volumes in the first part of the quarter. Sentiment only improved towards the end of summer, particularly in September, and we therefore were not able to match the results achieved earlier in the year," the quarterly report stated.

Institutional invested assets were CHF484bn at the end of September. This is an increase of 14% since the third quarter of 2005, compared to an increase of 24% in the same period last year.

Net new institutional money in the three months was CHF 12.6bn, CHF7.9bn into money market funds. The rest (CHF 4.7bn) saw strong inflows into alternative and quantitative investments, fixed income and real estate, and, to a lesser extent, multi-asset mandates.

"The inflows were partly offset by outflows from equity mandates," the report stated. Last year the net new money inflow excluding movements related to money market funds was CHF 10.7bn, a quarterly record. 

UK insurer, Friends Provident reported a 46% rise in group pension sales bringing this part of the business to £1.6bn (€ 2.4bn) compared to £1.1bn in 2005.

"We are now one of the leading players as a result of our service efficiency, with the capability to provide the customisation required to write large schemes. We had a market share of 15.2% in the second quarter, which benefited from increased business stimulated by pensions A-Day," the quarterly report stated.

"A-Day will continue to be helpful for a further year, although less significantly than in the second quarter. This market will also remain strong as a result of the continuing trend from defined benefit to defined contribution, and from trustee based to contract based schemes," the group said

"We continue to develop service-led improvements to the platform such as on-line tools and resources for scheme members, and are confident of continued growth, although below the exceptional level seen in the first half."

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