Europe's biggest life insurer, Standard Life, has announced a 4% increase in first-half revenue following a strong performance in its UK life and pensions business and the success of new personalized pension plans.

The Scottish company, which plans to seek a stock market listing next year, reported H1 worldwide insurance premium sales of GBP619 million, up 4% from GBP593 million in the same period a year earlier. Profits before tax for Standard Life Bank increased 50% to a total of GBP9 million.

Standard Life’s life and pensions business saw an increase of 10% as it continued to write new business. In addition, the company’s new Self Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) product displayed significant growth and emerged as a market leader.

Commenting on the company’s current position, chairman Sir Brian Stewart said, The team we now have in place has the necessary skills and expertise to capitalize on the development prospects across the business and continue working on our plans for demutualization.

Last year Standard Life cut over 2,000 jobs and announced that it planned to demutualize after a solvency dispute with the Financial Services Authority forced it to sell GBP7.5 billion worth of equities.