Why Standard Life Is Up 42% This Year


Standard Life (ISE: SL.L) has advanced 42% to 293 pence so far during 2012, making the share one of this year's best performers in the FTSE 100 (UKX).

The savings and investments company, which has around 6 million customers worldwide, seems to have impressed investors with a series of encouraging statements.

During March, Standard Life announced 2011 results that showed profits improving 28% to 544 million pounds, group assets under administration (AUA) rising 6% to 198 billion pounds and a final dividend up 6.4% to 9.2 pence per share.

Alongside the healthy numbers, the group said it was committed to strengthening its market positions and had developed new products ahead of the retail distribution review and the auto-enrollment of pensions.

During April, Standard Life's first-quarter statement revealed AUA increasing 6% to 207 billion pounds, although long-term savings sales fell 0.8 billion pounds to 5.0 billion pounds. The group admitted that low consumer confidence had been a factor during the quarter, but maintained it was "well positioned to deliver continued strong growth."

Then in August, Standard Life disclosed half-year results that showed profits increasing by 15% to 302 million pounds and an interim dividend up 6.5% to 4.90 pence per share.

David Nish, Standard Life's chief executive, commented at the time:

These results show that Standard Life is performing well. We have delivered increased profits, cash flow and dividends and we are achieving ongoing improvements in operational and financial performance.

The industry is undergoing a period of significant change and we believe that this brings opportunity. We are well prepared for the regulatory and market changes on the horizon, and have invested to make sure we are even better placed to meet the needs of our customers and their advisors.

Standard Life's next market update will be published on October 31st, which may reveal further heartening news that can impress investors.

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Barry does not own any share mentioned in this article.

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