Chief Financial Officer's overview

“2010 was a good year for Prudential as we delivered strong performance in our key growth metrics.”

Nic Nicandrou, Chief Financial Officer

APE Sales: 2010 – £3,485m, +23% on 2009 – £2,844m

2010 was a good year for Prudential as we delivered strong performance in our key growth metrics. EEV new business profit (‘new business profit’) was up 25 per cent to £2,028 million (2009: £1,619 million) and IFRS operating profit based on longer-term investment returns (‘IFRS operating profit’) increased 24 per cent to £1,941 million (2009: £1,564 million).

On our capital metric of net underlying free surplus generation we improved 21 per cent to £1,714 million (2009: £1,414 million). Prudential’s ability to deliver on all of these metrics is testament to the quality of our businesses and marks us out among our peers. Our ongoing focus on driving value over volume coupled with our advantaged product and geographic business footprint and the financial discipline that is ingrained within all of our businesses has resulted in the Group delivering excellent performance in the year and gives us confidence as we look into 2011 and beyond.

 

£2,028m
New business profit

58%
New business margin

In life insurance, APE sales1 in 2010 were up 23 per cent to £3,485 million (2009: £2,844 million) and new business profit has increased by 25 per cent to £2,028 million (2009: £1,619 million) as our new business margins1 increased to 58 per cent (2009: 57 per cent).

Asia produced APE sales1 of £1,501 million (2009: £1,209 million) and new business profit1 of £902 million (2009: £725 million) in 2010, both figures up 24 per cent on the prior year. AER sales performance across Asia was strong, particularly in Indonesia (up 49 per cent), Malaysia (up 40 per cent), Hong Kong (up 19 per cent) and Singapore (up 37 per cent) where we have a powerful market presence. Our agency and bancassurance channels both continue to flourish, each growing at a rate in excess of 25 per cent, and our health and protection rider strategy remains highly successful, with health and protection products representing 27 per cent of new business premiums in 2010.

Jackson delivered APE sales of £1,164 million (2009: £912 million) and £761 million of new business profit (2009: £664 million), up 28 per cent and 15 per cent respectively on the prior year. The decline in our new business margin in the US from 73 per cent in 2009 to 65 per cent in 2010 was expected. Nevertheless, Jackson successfully defended most of the exceptional margin gains achieved in 2009 in taking advantage of the extreme dislocation prevalent in the corporate bond market. Jackson has capitalised on the weakened competitive environment in the US life insurance market and has emerged as one of the top three players in the variable annuity market in terms of sales and number two in terms of net flows. However, our expansion in variable annuities has been opportunistic and this market share may not be sustained as competition re-emerges over the medium term.

In the UK, we delivered total retail and bulk annuity APE sales of £820 million (2009: £723 million) and new business profit of £365 million (2009: £230 million), up 13 per cent and 59 per cent respectively. At a retail level, new business profit of £257 million was up 15 per cent from £223 million in 2009 at an expanded margin of 35 per cent versus 31 per cent in the prior year. This reflects improved margins on with-profits bond sales where we have seen volumes 11 per cent higher on improved demand and the strong annuity margins experienced in 2009 continuing into 2010.

In asset management, we have delivered £8.9 billion of net inflows over 2010 compared with £15.4 billion in 2009, a year which benefited from exceptionally high flows into M&G’s fixed income funds due to the credit spread environment at the time. M&G is the driver of our inflows in asset management, producing £9.1 billion (2009: £13.5 billion) of net inflows in the period (£7.4 billion retail, £1.7 billion institutional). M&G’s track record in attracting positive net inflows is highly impressive, ranking number 1 in the UK retail market for the last nine consecutive quarters, making it one of the leading asset managers in Europe. At the end of 2010 it had external funds under management of £89.3 billion, an increase of £19.0 billion from the position at the beginning of the year; adding these funds to internal amounts, M&G’s total funds under management were £198.3 billion. Asia asset management continues to make great strides forward attracting £1.8 billion of retail and institutional inflows in 2010 (2009: £556 million). These were offset by £2.1 billion of outflows (2009: £1.4 billion inflows) in low margin money market funds where sales and redemptions tend to be highly volatile.

It is encouraging to note that we continue to grow our balance sheet with shareholder-backed policyholder liabilities up by 22 per cent to £122 billion, benefiting from both net inflows and investment market movements. We continue to see positive net inflows into our life businesses, with a net £9.7 billion being received in 2010, an increase from the net £7.2 billion received in 2009. In asset management our Group net inflows as a percentage of opening external funds under management stands at 9.9 per cent for 2010. Both measures emphasise the significant organic growth we are delivering across the Group. In addition, the returns we expect to generate on the capital we invest in writing life new business have also reached a new high. For every £1 we invested in new business strain in 2010 we expect to generate £2.2 of post-tax new business profit and our initial capital investment is expected to be paid back within two years.

Close

 

“In terms of profitability, we have successfully built on the momentum seen last year and delivered another strong performance thanks to a continued focus on our core disciplines of value creation and capital conservation.”

In terms of profitability, we have successfully built on the momentum seen last year and delivered another strong performance thanks to a continued focus on our core disciplines of value creation and capital conservation. We have delivered record profitability in 2010 with Group IFRS operating profit up 24 per cent to £1,941 million (2009: £1,564 million) and Group EEV operating profit based on longer-term investment returns (‘EEV operating profit’) up 20 per cent to £3,696 million (2009: £3,090 million) equivalent to an annual return on embedded value of 18 per cent (2009: 15 per cent).

Central to this achievement is the active management of our portfolio of products and businesses, which in 2010 saw us cease writing new business in our Japanese life operations, exit from the equity release market in the UK, reduce our appetite for sales of fixed annuities in the US and target, instead, the highly profitable markets in South-East Asia (including Hong Kong) and variable annuities in the US. We have also remained opportunistic in the UK bulk annuity market and entered into one large transaction which comfortably exceeded our high return and short payback requirements.

In Asia, long-term business IFRS operating profit was up 29 per cent to £536 million in 2010 (2009: £416 million), a strong performance in and of itself, even before factoring in the £63 million one-off credit to the 2009 result from a change in reserving basis in Malaysia. The result benefited notably from strong performance in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam. In addition, management actions to close Japan to new business and refocus our operations in Korea and Taiwan have also helped to eliminate some of the negatives that were holding back our profitability. The ongoing build-out of distribution across South-East Asia, the success of our health and protection rider strategy, and the underlying strength of the economies in which we operate should drive continuing strong growth in Asia IFRS operating profit going forward. Asia’s long-term EEV operating profit, a measure of the economic value creation in the year, grew by 31 per cent in 2010 to £1,450 million (2009: £1,105 million) further underlining the creation of sustainable value by these operations.

In the US, long-term business IFRS operating profit was up 35 per cent from £618 million in 2009 to £833 million in 2010. Jackson’s impressive growth in the variable annuity market is a key driver behind its improved profitability. The ‘fees on assets’ that Jackson earns on separate account assets are the highest across the Group’s unit-linked businesses, and these revenues have increased significantly as these assets have grown by over 51 per cent during 2010 to £31 billion at the end of the year. The majority of this asset growth has come from £5.8 billion of net inflows in the period (2009: £3.6 billion). Jackson’s general account has also contributed to the growth in IFRS profits during the period. The size of the general account was up slightly during 2010, and closed the year with policyholder liabilities of £29 billion but the average spread margin that we earn on these liabilities increased from 179 bps in 2009 to 243 bps in 2010. This included a £108 million benefit from various transactions undertaken during 2010 to more closely match the overall asset and liability duration, as well as management actions to lower crediting rates on fixed annuities. These actions also had the effect of improving the 2010 EEV operating profits by 18 per cent to £1,458 million (2009: £1,233 million).

In the UK long-term business IFRS operating profit was up by 11 per cent from £606 million in 2009 to £673 million in 2010. Our UK business continues to optimise the balance between growth and cash generation. The improvement in IFRS operating profit reflects the benefit of cost saving initiatives, higher with-profits income and increased annuity profits arising principally from a bulk annuity contract which contributed £63 million to the total. At eight per cent, growth in EEV operating earnings to £936 million (2009: £870 million) was in line with our strategy.

In asset management IFRS operating profit was up 27 per cent to £378 million compared to £297 million in 2009. M&G had a strong year benefiting from rising markets and the strong inflows described above, resulting in IFRS operating profit up 19 per cent to £284 million in 2010 (2009: £238 million). Asia asset management produced IFRS operating profit of £72 million up 31 per cent on the prior year (2009: £55 million), also benefiting from rising markets and an element of improving mix as £1.8 billion of high margin retail and institutional net inflows offset £2.1 billion of low margin money market net outflows.

Close

 

“Our strategy of efficiently deploying our capital to those products and geographies with the most attractive profitability characteristics has, over the past three years, transformed the capital position of our business.”

Our strategy of efficiently deploying our capital to those products and geographies with the most attractive profitability characteristics has, over the past three years, transformed the capital position of our business. Across the Group, we are now producing very significant amounts of free capital, which we measure as free surplus generated. Our first priority for the use of this capital is reinvestment in new business as we can achieve attractive internal rates of return (IRRs) and rapid paybacks on this investment. However, such is the scale and efficiency of our businesses, we are now producing significant amounts of free surplus over and above that which we can reinvest in new business. This excess free surplus generation is being used to continue to strengthen our balance sheet and to increase cash returns to our shareholders.

In 2010, we generated £2,359 million of underlying free surplus from our in-force business, up 13 per cent from £2,089 million in 2009, and we reinvested £645 million of this into writing new business. Asia is the priority destination when it comes to reinvesting our capital and Prudential Corporation Asia (PCA)’s growth is not constrained by the supply of capital from the Group. In the US, we invest in an opportunistic manner reflecting the market and competitive environment at the time. In the UK, we take a selective approach and focus only on lines of business where we believe we have both the scale and expertise to compete successfully. In asset management, our businesses require minimal capital to fund growth. Thus, the split of the investment in new business in 2010 was £280 million into Asia, £300 million into the US and £65 million into the UK. The IRRs on this invested capital were more than 20 per cent in Asia, the US and the UK; with payback periods of three years, one year and four years respectively.

Of the remaining free surplus generated after reinvestment in new business, £935 million was remitted from the business units to Group. This cash was used to meet central costs (including those associated with Solvency II implementation) of £180 million, service net interest payments of £231 million and meet dividend payments (net of scrip) of £449 million. In 2010, we also incurred significant exceptional cash outflows relating to the AIA transaction costs of £377 million (pre-tax) and we utilised our central resources to fund the acquisition of UOB Life of £276 million. Our central cash resources amounted to £1,232 million at the end of the year, comfortably above the £1 billion holding company cash buffer we seek to retain.

The remaining free surplus generated in the period was retained within our businesses and this will bolster local capital ratios. The total free surplus balance deployed across our life and asset management operations increased from £2,531 million at the beginning of the period to £3,338 million at the end of the period.

Close

 

The following discussion contains forward-looking statements that involve inherent risks and uncertainties. Prudential’s actual future financial condition or performance or other indicated results may differ materially from those indicated in any such forward-looking statement due to a number of important factors (including those discussed under the heading ‘Risk factors’ in this report). See the discussion under the heading ‘Forward-looking statement’ at the end of this report.

At our 2010 investor conference entitled ‘Growth and Cash’ we announced new financial objectives demonstrating our confidence in continued rapid growth in Asia, and increasing levels of cash remittances from all of our businesses. These objectives were defined as follows:

  1. Asia growth and profitability objectives2:
    • To double the 2009 value of IFRS life and asset management pre-tax operating profit in 2013 (2009: £465 million); and
    • To double the 2009 value of new business profits in 2013 (2009: £713 million).
  2. Business unit cash remittance objectives2:
    • Asia to deliver £300 million of net cash remittance to the Group in 2013 (2009: £40 million);
    • Jackson to deliver £200 million of net cash remittance to the Group in 2013 (2009: £39 million); and
    • UK to deliver £350 million of net cash remittance to the Group in 2013 (2009: £284 million3).
  3. Cumulative net cash remittances2:
    • All business units in aggregate to deliver cumulative net cash remittances of at least £3.8 billion over the period 2010 to end-2013. These net remittances are to be underpinned by a targeted level of cumulative underlying free surplus generation of £6.5 billion over the same period.

The table below shows our progress towards these objectives from our results in 2010. We believe we have made a strong start towards achieving these objectives.

  Actual Objective
  2009
£m
2010
£m
2013
£m
  • *Total Asia operating profit from long-term business and asset management after development costs.
  • In 2009, the net remittances from the UK include the £150 million in 2009 arising from the pro-active financing techniques used to bring forward cash emergence of the in-force book during the financial crisis. The 2010 net remittances include an amount of £120 million representing the releases of surplus and net financing payments.
  • Including Prudential Capital.
ASIA GROWTH OBJECTIVES      
Value of new business (including Japan) 713 901 1,426
IFRS operating profit* 465 604 930
BUSINESS UNIT NET REMITTANCE OBJECTIVES      
Asia 40 233 300
Jackson 39 80 200
UK 434 420 350
M&G 175 202  
Total 688 935  
CUMULATIVE NET CASH REMITTANCES FROM 2010 ONWARDS     3,800
CUMULATIVE UNDERLYING GROUP FREE SURPLUS GENERATION NET OF INVESTMENTS IN NEW BUSINESS     6,500

In 2010 net remittances from business operations increased to £935 million, equivalent to 55 per cent of underlying free surplus generated (after investment in new business) of £1,714 million. The increased level of net remittances further illustrates both the strong and improving capital generative nature of our business, with a greater proportion of this capital being returned to the corporate centre in the form of dividends. The delivery of the 2010 to 2013 financial objectives will see this trend continue.

Close

 

The Group has continued to maintain a strong capital position. At the end of 2010 our IGD surplus stood at £4.3 billion (2009: £3.4 billion), with coverage a very strong 3.0 times the requirement. All of our subsidiaries maintain strong capital positions at the local regulatory level. In particular, Jackson’s RBC ratio has continued to strengthen throughout the period under review and at the end of 2010 this ratio stood at 483 per cent.

Solvency II, which is expected to be implemented from 1 January 2013, represents a complete overhaul of the capital adequacy regime for European insurers. We welcome the risk-based focus of the Solvency II regime but, along with our European peers, we do have concerns about the degree of prudence built in within the proposed calibrations for the standard formula. We are engaging directly with our peers, politicians and regulators to ensure a fair and reasonable outcome before the regime becomes law.

Our financing and liquidity position has remained strong throughout the period. The next call on external financing is in December 2011 on the €500 million Tier 2 subordinated notes. In early 2011 we successfully issued US$550 million Tier 1 subordinated debt in anticipation of calling the €500 million Tier 2 notes.

We continue to engage with rating agencies in order to provide insurance financial strength ratings for the Group. Prudential is currently rated A+ by S&P, A2 (negative outlook) by Moody’s and A by Fitch.

Close

 

EEV shareholders’ funds increased by 19 per cent during 2010 to £18.2 billion (2009: £15.3 billion). On a per share basis EEV at the end of 2010 stood at 715 pence, up 19 per cent from the end of 2009 (2009: 603 pence).

Close

 

In view of the progress that the Group has made in recent years to improve IFRS operating profitability and free surplus generation, the Board has decided to rebase the full year dividend upwards by 4 pence per share, equivalent to an increase of 20 per cent. In line with this, the directors recommend a final dividend of 17.24 pence per share, which brings the total dividend for the year to 23.85 pence per share (2009: 19.85 pence per share). The scrip dividend scheme is not being offered in respect of this dividend. In its place shareholders will be offered a Dividend Reinvestment Plan (DRIP).

The Board will maintain its focus on delivering a growing dividend from this new higher base, which will continue to be determined after taking into account the Group’s financial flexibility and our assessment of opportunities to generate attractive returns by investing in specific areas of the business. The Board believes that in the medium term a dividend cover of around two times is appropriate.

Close

“These results demonstrate that we are maximising the growth opportunities of our high quality franchises in Asia, the US, and the UK.”

Summary

2010 was a good year for the Group in uncertain conditions as global economies emerged from the financial crisis. These results demonstrate that we are maximising the growth opportunities of our high quality franchises in Asia, the US, and the UK. We remain disciplined in our approach of optimising value and are very focused on improving the quality of our earnings. We have accelerated the generation of free surplus and we are signalling our confidence in the future potential of our business by proposing an increase in the payout to shareholders.

Nic Nicandrou, Chief Financial Officer Signature

Nic Nicandrou

Chief Financial Officer

Notes

  1. Excluding Japan which ceased writing new business in 2010.
  2. The objectives assume current exchange rates and a normalised economic environment consistent with the economic assumptions made by Prudential in calculating the EEV basis supplementary information for the half-year ended 30 June 2010. They have been prepared using current solvency rules and do not pre-judge the outcome of Solvency II, which remains uncertain.
  3. Representing the underlying remittances excluding the £150 million impact of proactive financing techniques used to bring forward cash emergence of the in-force book during the financial crisis.
 

Feedback

Your comments and ideas help us to shape future reports to suit your needs.

Tell us your views

Shareholder services

Get the most out of your shareholding in Prudential.

View shareholder services