Page last updated at 07:13 GMT, Thursday, 30 April 2009 08:13 UK

Standard Life sales hit by crisis

Standard Life building
Standard Life backed down over the Pension Sterling Fund

Life assurer Standard Life has said its worldwide life and pensions sales fell 20% as the global financial crisis took its toll.

The Edinburgh-based company's new sales for the quarter to March dropped to £3.6bn, from £4.5bn in the same period last year.

In the UK, life and pensions sales fell 27% to £2.5bn in the quarter.

Standard Life said its sales in the UK were affected by its decision to mark down its Pension Sterling Fund.

It said in February it would reimburse 97,000 of its customers who had lost 5% of their money when the Pension Sterling Fund's value was reduced in January.

The insurer had faced a storm of protest from savers and financial advisers who had accused it of misleading them about the fund's underlying investments.

Instead of being invested largely in cash, much of the fund was invested in riskier "mortgage-backed" assets.

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