Standard Life has announced a 26 per cent increase in worldwide sales during the first three quarters of the year.
In a statement, the Edinburgh-based insurer said that group sales totalled £1.12 billion in the nine months to September 30th, up from £890 million in the same period last year and broadly in line with expectations.
The company confirmed that UK life and pensions sales, its core business, climbed by 35 per cent to £921 million during the first nine months of the year, meaning that domestic life and pensions sales have already exceeded the £684 million reported for the whole of 2005.
Standard Life, which said that the government's so-called A-day changes to pension regulations had boosted new business, said that sales of its Self Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) scheme and investment bonds had led the group's performance.
The group said that sales of its SIPP, together with income products which allow customers to draw down income from the scheme, were up by 109 per cent over the first nine months of the year, to £182 million, compared to £87 million during the same period in 2005.
"UK life and pensions sales in the first nine months of 2006 exceeded the 2005 calendar year total with SIPP and investment bonds continuing to lead the way," said Standard Life group chief executive Sandy Crombie.
"Our performance has been built on our first class service, strong suite of products and deep relationships with intermediaries," Crombie added.
Nonetheless, despite overall optimism about the company's performance, Standard Life acknowledged that pension lapses continued to be "above the long-term trend".
"We continue to monitor carefully the current level of lapses," said Standard Life, which listed on the stock market in July after around 80 years as a mutual insurer.