UK life insurer and savings provider Legal & General has seen strong growth in sales in the first quarter.

The group saw UK new business up by 28% to GBP363 million, while worldwide sales also rose by more than a quarter to reach GBP390 million.

Legal & General’s first quarter 2006 new business results show continued new business momentum, reflecting the strength of the protection, savings and investment markets in the UK and of our position within them. In particular, our partnership with Cofunds, the investment fund platform, and our many long-standing bank and building society relationships, are playing an important role in driving our business forward, chief executive Tim Breedon said in a statement.

UK new business was up 28% in the first quarter of this year. The company said it saw good performance in retail protection sales as the housing market showed further signs of recovery.

There was increased activity in the retail pensions market, with customers and advisers preparing for changes in pensions legislation. L&G’s investment bond business rose 39% with intermediaries taking advantage of the opportunities available to them and to their customers through wrap platforms and our newly launched multi-fund portfolio bond.

In retail investments, ISA and unit trust sales saw impressive growth, as consumers drew confidence from improved equity markets. Legal & General Investment Management delivered GBP5.6 billion of new funds under management. This is a strong start to the year. We remain confident in our ability to continue delivering profitable growth, Mr Breedon concluded.