UK mutual life insurer Standard Life saw its core UK life and pensions sales decline by 12% in Q4 2005 as it alters its focus towards selling more profitable products.

Taking full year 2005 as a whole, UK life and pension sales grew by a modest 3% to GBP908 million. However this included strong sales growth for SIPP and investment bond products, which between them brought in full year revenues of some GBP2.2 billion, with sales of SIPPs soaring by 186% in the fourth quarter of the year.

Our full year results show a clear shift of emphasis in our core UK Life and Pensions business towards investment-driven single premium business. We have made good progress in 2005 in developing products that will further alter the balance of our business.

Overall, worldwide group new insurance business showed a 17% increase in new single premiums against a 20% fall in regular premiums. Our Canadian business finished the year on a strong note and Standard Life Investments capitalized on its excellent performance track record, with a large step forward both in new mandates and funds under management, said chief executive Sandy Crombie.