Group Chief Executive’s report

Delivering long-term value to
customers and shareholders


“The strength of the Group’s execution
capabilities, combined with our leading
market positions, growing in-force
book and excellent diversification
enable us to create value for our
customers while generating
sustainable earnings and
cash for our shareholders.”

Mike Wells
Group Chief Executive

Mike Wells, Group Chief Executive

I am pleased to report a strong performance in 2015.

Our strategy continues to serve us well, focusing on the three long-term opportunities across our geographic markets –

  1. serving the protection and investment needs of the growing middle class in Asia;

  2. providing asset accumulation and retirement income products to US baby boomers and

  3. meeting the savings and retirement needs of an ageing British population.

The strength of the Group’s execution capabilities, combined with our leading market positions, growing in-force book and excellent diversification by geography, currency, product and distribution enable us to create value for our customers while generating sustainable earnings and cash for our shareholders.


£4,007m IFRS operating profit

22% increase on 2014


£2,617m EEV new business profit

20% increase on 2014


Open all

Group performance1

We continue to comment on our international business performance in local currency terms (expressed on a constant exchange rate basis) to show the underlying business trends in a period of currency volatility. We have used this basis in discussions below for our Asian and US businesses to maintain comparability.

Our Group IFRS operating profit based on longer-term investment returns increased by 22 per cent in 2015 to £4,007 million. On an actual exchange rate basis, the Group's IFRS operating profit grew by 26 per cent.

  • Asia life and asset management operating profit of £1,324 million grew by 17 per cent, reflecting the growing recurring income from our life in-force book (up 14 per cent to £7.2 billion2) and higher assets under management in Eastspring Investments. The recurring premium focus underpins our earnings growth in the region and is key to the resilience of our financial performance across the cycle.
  • US life IFRS operating profit of £1,691 million was up 10 per cent, driven by growth in fee income earned on separate account assets that have continued to benefit from robust net inflows.
  • UK life IFRS operating profit of £1,167 million grew by 60 per cent4, and included £339 million arising in the second half of 2015 from specific management actions taken to position the balance sheet more efficiently under the new Solvency II regime.
  • M&G delivered operating profit of £442 million, broadly in line with 2014. Funds under management (including internal funds) were 7 per cent lower at £246.1 billion, reflecting retail outflows during 2015.

The Group is focused on delivering strong cash generation, which underpins both our strategic and financial flexibility. Underlying free surplus generation3, a key indicator of cash generation from our life and asset management businesses, was 15 per cent higher at £3,050 million after reinvestment in new business. In total, our businesses remitted cash to the corporate centre of £1,625 million, up 10 per cent on an actual exchange rate basis. Cash remittances of £467 million from Asia were 17 per cent higher while those from the US increased by 13 per cent to £470 million, both on an actual exchange rate basis. In the UK, our life operation remitted £331 million in line with last year and M&G delivered a 6 per cent increase in remittances to £302 million.

New business profit was up 20 per cent4 to £2,617 million, primarily reflecting higher overall volumes in Asia and the UK. All three of our life businesses contributed significantly to the total, with £1,490 million (up 28 per cent) of new business profit from Asia, £809 million (up 8 per cent) from the US and £318 million (up 23 per cent4) from the UK.

APE sales5 increased by 17 per cent4 to £5,607 million led by Asia where APE sales were 26 per cent higher at £2,853 million. In the US, APE sales were 3 per cent higher at £1,729 million as demand for our sales of variable annuities remained strong. In 2015, Jackson continued to proactively manage sales of variable annuities with living benefits while diversifying sales mix. In the UK, APE sales grew by 23 per cent4 to £1,025 million, based on our attractive with-profits product propositions sold through an expanding range of wrappers including income drawdown, individual pensions, ISAs and investment bonds. M&G experienced net outflows of £7.0 billion (2014: net inflows of £7.1 billion) driven by retail net outflows of £10.9 billion, due to redemptions from bond funds reflecting softer consumer sentiment on fixed income assets. Eastspring Investments, our Asia asset management business, delivered a strong performance in 2015, with third party net inflows of £6.0 billion (2014: net inflows of £5.4 billion).

Our balance sheet continues to be defensively positioned and our Solvency II outcome, following approval by the Prudential Regulation Authority of our internal model in December 2015, underscores the strength and resilience of the Group’s capital position.

We are continuing to make good progress towards our 2017 objectives announced in December 2013.

Read more: Chief Financial Officer's report on our 2015 performance

Savings, health and protection - Asia: Significant protection gap and investment needs of the middle class. Savings - US: Transition of baby boomers into retirement. Savings - UK: Savings gap and ageing population in need of returns and income.

Our strategy

Our clear and consistent strategy utilises our capabilities, footprint and scale to serve the global savings and Asian protection needs of an increasingly self-reliant middle class to create long-term value for our customers and our shareholders.

Read more: Our strategy

 

2017 objectives*

Asia objectives

1. Asia IFRS operating profit

Asia life and asset management pre-tax IFRS operating profit to grow at a compound annual rate of at least 15 per cent over the period 2012–2017 (2012: £924 million6)

2012: £901m; 2013: £1,075m; 2014: £1,260m; 2015: £1,468m; 2017 objective: £1,858m

2. Asia underlying free surplus

Asia underlying free surplus generation3 of £0.9 billion to £1.1 billion in 2017 (2012: £484 million)

2012: £471m; 2013: £573m; 2014: £622m; 2015: £765m; 2017 objective: £0.9m, £1.1bn

Group objective

3. Group cumulative underlying free surplus

Cumulative Group underlying free surplus generation of at least £10 billion over the four-year period from 2014 to end-2017

2014-2017 objective. Expressed at December 2013 foreign excahnge rates: £5.6bn, 2017 objectives: £10bn

* The objectives assume exchange rates at December 2013 and economic assumptions made by Prudential in calculating the EEV basis supplementary information for the half year ended 30 June 2013, and are based on regulatory and solvency regimes applicable across the Group at the time the objectives were set. The objectives assume that the existing EEV, IFRS and Free Surplus methodology at December 2013 will be applicable over the period.

 

Our operating performance by business unit

Asia

Asia has delivered strong financial results in 2015 across all of our key metrics, demonstrating the resilient performance of our well diversified and increasingly large in-force business portfolio. IFRS operating profit of £1,324 million was up 17 per cent (16 per cent on an actual exchange rate basis), free surplus generation grew by 16 per cent to £673 million (14 per cent on actual exchange rate basis) and net cash remittances of £467 million were up 17 per cent.

Our life business strategy is centred on Asia’s rapidly growing life insurance markets with a focus on regular premium, protection-orientated policies distributed primarily through high-quality agency and bank partners. We have over 14 million customers across the region, one of the largest and most productive agency sales forces, a well established bancassurance franchise and leadership positions in nine out of 12 markets. Despite our strong progress over the last decade, insurance penetration in the markets in which we operate remains low and the demand for savings, health and protection products from a growing middle class continues to be high. Our scale and scope in the region, combined with proven operational expertise, enables us to execute on strategic growth opportunities, invest in building the business through the economic cycle and remain flexible to resist market pressure for products we consider to be less attractive. This approach will, from time to time, lead to fluctuations in APE sales at a country level but allows us to conserve value without compromising the overall regional delivery.

In 2015 new business APE sales increased by 26 per cent, driven by 30 per cent growth in regular premium new business (which contributes 93 per cent of our APE sales), offsetting the 8 per cent reduction in single premiums, which are more susceptible to softer economic conditions. Our sales performance continues to benefit from our broad-based multi-channel distribution platform, new product launches and continued actions to improve both distribution scale and productivity. Agency APE sales were 29 per cent higher across the region, reflecting continued investment in agency manpower and an improvement in average agent productivity of 25 per cent. Our core bank partnerships continue to make good progress, led by Standard Chartered Bank, where APE sales rose by 16 per cent. New business profit was up 28 per cent at £1,490 million and outpaced the APE sales growth of 26 per cent.

In Hong Kong, APE sales grew 74 per cent, driven by increases in agency headcount and productivity and also from our successful inroads into Hong Kong’s broker network. During 2015, we have also seen acceleration in demand from Mainland China-based customers, with around 70 per cent of this business having an annual premium below US$5,000. We remain well placed to satisfy the growing demand for savings and protection products from both domestic and Mainland China customers.

Our joint venture with CITIC in China continues to perform well, with APE sales growth of 28 per cent and operations now in 64 cities. The second half of the year was marked by significantly higher levels of volatility in investment markets, which impacted single premium business through the bancassurance channel. However, regular premium sales remain strong, with growth of 34 per cent in the fourth quarter and 29 per cent for the year. Furthermore, sales of health and protection business nearly doubled during the year, contributing over 42 per cent of our APE sales in China. We are well prepared for the implementation in 2016 of China’s Risk Oriented Solvency System (C-ROSS) and we do not expect this to cause any issues for our business.

In Singapore, we continue to lead the market for regular premium products with a market share of 23 per cent7 and the largest agency force in the industry. During 2015, we have focused on growing regular premium agency-sourced protection sales, which has enhanced the mix of business and contributed to a 7 per cent increase in new business profit through this channel. Reflecting our proactive de-emphasis of universal life sales, and the effect of cessation of distribution relationships with Maybank and Singpost, total APE sales were 13 per cent lower in 2015.

Indonesia continues to generate material levels of new business value for our Asia business, and the recurring regular premium nature of our in-force portfolio has driven a 21 per cent increase in IFRS operating profit. Our sales performance reflects both softer market conditions and the impact of deliberate, proactive actions to further improve the quality of our distribution. While this might affect shorter-term sales progression, it conserves value and positions us well to capitalise on the eventual upturn. Market conditions for new business sales remain challenging, with suppressed consumer sentiment making it harder to close sales, reflected in APE sales 11 per cent lower at £326 million. However, average agency case sizes increased by 9 per cent in 2015. We remain confident about our long-term prospects in Indonesia given the low insurance penetration levels and we are continuing to invest in building our agency force nationwide.

In Malaysia, we have seen continued success from our strategy to increase our penetration of the Bumi sector, where we are the largest provider with a 43 per cent share of the Takaful market. In addition to growing the agency force by 13 per cent, we have increased our activity in bancassurance with APE sales from this channel up 68 per cent. Overall APE sales increased by 17 per cent in the year.

All our other markets have delivered good-quality growth. In the Philippines, we have continued to focus on the agency channel, with increased manpower and higher average case sizes driving APE sales growth of 20 per cent in this channel. Overall APE sales were up 9 per cent, reflecting our decision to be selective in how we participate in bancassurance. Thailand’s APE sales were up 12 per cent, driven by strong growth from our main bancassurance partners, United Overseas Bank and Thanachart. Vietnam had an excellent year, with APE sales growing 32 per cent on higher levels of agency activity. Our greenfield operations in Cambodia continue to move ahead well, with APE sales up 167 per cent. While our larger, more established markets are progressing well, our ability to execute across the spectrum, covering markets at different stages of development, is key to driving long-term, profitable growth in the region.

Our joint venture with ICICI Bank in India remains the leader in the private sector with a market share of 12 per cent and APE sales growth of 21 per cent. In Taiwan and Korea, we remain selective in our participation and as a result we are content to tolerate fluctuations in new business volumes. Both businesses have generated a higher level of IFRS operating profit. Despite significant volatility in capital markets, Eastspring Investments, our Asia asset management business, delivered strong results in 2015, with record third-party net inflows of £6.0 billion, up 11 per cent on 2014. The businesses benefited from robust inflows into equity funds, including Asian equity funds in Japan, good investment performance in Korea and India driving excellent domestic flows and healthy net inflows into bond funds from our joint ventures in China and India. Total funds under management at 31 December 2015 were a record £89.1 billion, up 16 per cent on the prior year as a result of net inflows from both our third-party and our life businesses.

The fundamentals of our Asian business remain compelling and we have the capabilities and market positions to be able to deliver long-term, profitable growth.

Read more: Our businesses and their performance – Asia

US

Our US business delivered a strong performance in 2015, with total IFRS operating profit of £1,702 million, up 9 per cent (18 per cent on an actual exchange rate basis). Jackson’s life IFRS operating profit grew 10 per cent (18 per cent on an actual exchange rate basis) to £1,691 million, driven by increased fee income from higher levels of separate account assets. The growth in operating profit underpinned significant levels of capital generation in the year, enabling Jackson to remit a record £470 million of cash to the Group (2014: £415 million), while maintaining a healthy balance sheet. Jackson’s risk-based capital ratio at the end of 2015 was 481 per cent, compared to 456 per cent at the end of 2014.

The US economy experienced uneven performance during 2015, with a noticeable deceleration in consumer spending and a contraction in business investment in the fourth quarter. Employment data was more positive, with non-farm payrolls in the last two months of the year exceeding expectations. This contributed to the Federal Reserve decision to increase the Federal Funds’ target rate by 25 basis points in December. The S&P 500 Index ended the year roughly in line with year-end 2014 levels and the 10-year treasury rate rose 10 basis points to 2.28 per cent at the end of 2015.

Overall, in 2015 the US competitive landscape remained relatively stable, although the industry continued to adjust its products and benefits in reaction to regulatory developments and economic conditions. Within variable annuities, providers are mainly choosing to modify their product offerings through reductions in fund availability and increased fees. With a final fiduciary rule expected from the US Department of Labor in the first half of 2016, we are working on contingency plans with the expectation of some changes to the rule, but the basic framework of the original proposal is presumed to remain intact. Given Jackson’s proven record of product innovation, best-in-class infrastructure, access to competitive intelligence and integration of product design with distribution, we believe we are well positioned to respond, adapt and take advantage of any market disruptions.

Jackson achieved total retail APE sales of £1,606 million in 2015, broadly consistent with the levels in 2014. Including institutional sales, total APE sales increased 3 per cent to £1,729 million, driving an 8 per cent growth in new business profit to £809 million.

Total variable annuity APE sales of £1,512 million in 2015 remained flat compared to 2014, reflecting Jackson’s continued focus on proactively managing sales of products with living benefits to maintain an appropriate balance of revenue streams and match our annual risk appetite. The proportion of variable annuity sales without living benefits remains significant at 33 per cent of total variable annuity APE sales, broadly in line with last year. Elite Access continues to be the undisputed leader in the investment-only variable annuity market with APE sales of £314 million (2014: £335 million), with the proportion of business from non-qualified accounts representing 69 per cent of the total (up from 66 per cent in 2014). With £9.6 billion in assets since its launch in March 2012, Elite Access not only reflects Jackson’s strength in commercialising a low-cost, no-guarantee product but also in navigating a demand shift from qualified to non-qualified accounts. In relation to variable annuities with living benefit guarantees, during 2015 we introduced a broader range of living benefit features to policyholders, creating additional product capacity to meet the underlying customer demand. Overall, Jackson’s statutory separate account assets increased by 5 per cent, from £86.5 billion in 2014 to £91.0 billion in 2015 (up 11 per cent on an actual exchange rate basis), reflecting positive business flows.

Jackson’s strategy is unchanged, serving the 75 million US baby boomers as they enter retirement. We continue to price new business on a conservative basis, targeting value over volume, and the economics of our business remain very attractive. Our hedging remains focused on optimising the economics of our exposures over time while maintaining a strong balance sheet. Our hedging programme continued to perform well throughout 2015 and under the recent volatility experienced in the markets. Our credit book is in good shape and we have continued to take actions to improve further its quality, increasing our treasury position and reducing our high-yield energy exposure. With this strategy, Jackson has been able to deliver significant profitable growth across the cycle, and since 1 January 2008, has remitted nearly US$3.3 billion of cash to the Group. Our performance continues to demonstrate that Jackson’s approach has successfully translated into value for customers and into profits and cash for shareholders.

Read more: Our businesses and their performance – United States

UK and Europe

Our UK business delivered strong growth in IFRS operating profit, new business profit and free surplus generation. We continue to execute successfully our UK strategy, focusing on our core strength of investment-based retail offerings, selective participation in the wholesale business segment and active management of our in-force book. Life IFRS operating profit was 60 per cent4 higher at £1,167 million and includes £339 million from the positive impact of specific management actions undertaken in the second half to position the balance sheet more efficiently under the new Solvency II regime, which are not expected to recur going forward. Cash remitted to the Group increased to £331 million (2014: £325 million).

In 2015, APE sales grew 23 per cent4 to £1,025 million, with a consequent 23 per cent4 increase in new business profit to £318 million. These results demonstrate the strength of our customer propositions in retail risk-managed investment products, combined with our diversified distribution capability. In 2015 we continued to participate in the pensions de-risking market in a disciplined manner, and delivered a robust performance from this sector.

Our retail business achieved APE sales growth of 32 per cent to £874 million (2014: £663 million4) driven by a growing demand for our savings and retirement products and specifically the distinctive PruFund range, with momentum increasing through the year as additional products and services came online including PruFund ISA, Flexible Income Drawdown and our simplified non-advised drawdown Pension Choices Plan. Our capabilities in multi-asset investing, the strength of our brand and diversified distribution, collectively position us well to meet evolving customer needs in a post-pension freedoms retirement market. Retail new business profit increased by 31 per cent4, benefiting from increased sales volumes partially offset by a lower contribution from individual annuity sales. APE sales of individual annuities decreased by 46 per cent from 2014 levels to £57 million and now represent 7 per cent of retail sales.

Demand for our PruFund multi-asset funds among our target customer base remains strong as customers continue to be attracted by both the performance track record and the benefits of a smoothed return in managing market volatility and reducing customer investment risk. Our successful launch in February 2015 of the PruFund range of investment funds within an ISA wrapper generated APE sales of £73 million, with assets under management totalling £674 million at the end of December 2015. In total across all products, PruFund APE sales of £574 million increased by 82 per cent, with total assets under management having increased 42 per cent since the start of the year to £16.5 billion.

Onshore bonds APE sales of £258 million increased by 11 per cent and offshore bonds APE sales of £75 million rose by 21 per cent over the previous year. Reflecting increased demand for our wider range of retirement solutions post-pension reforms, income drawdown APE sales have almost trebled to £102 million and individual pensions APE sales have more than doubled to £150 million compared to 2014. We continue to diversify our product portfolio in response to the expanding market for flexible retirement income and pensions products.

Corporate pensions APE sales of £152 million were 3 per cent higher than in 2014. We remain the largest provider of additional voluntary contribution plans within the public sector, where we provide schemes for 73 of the 101 public sector authorities in the UK (2014: 72 of the 99).

Our bulk annuity business concluded four deals, generating APE sales of £151 million (2014: £171 million, seven deals), new business profit of £117 million (2014: £105 million) and IFRS operating profit of £89 million (2014: £105 million). In 2015, our approach to bulk transactions in the UK continued to be one of disciplined participation, focusing on those opportunities where we can bring both significant value to our customers and meet our shareholder return requirements. The implementation of Solvency II has increased significantly the capital intensity of annuity business and this will significantly reduce our appetite to transact bulk business going forward.

In Poland, our life business continues to grow steadily. The business now has 18 branches across the country and 597 financial planning consultants. Its success demonstrates our ability to build a new business franchise by transferring our existing product and distribution strengths to new markets.

Our strategy in the UK and Europe remains to leverage our investment expertise, distribution scale and well established brand in order to deliver capital-light profitable growth in retail investment products, while managing our in-force business to generate long-term earnings and cash.

Read more: Our businesses and their performance – United Kingdom – Insurance and investments

Africa

During 2015, we continued to develop our businesses in Sub-Sahara Africa. We entered the Uganda insurance market through the acquisition of Goldstar Life Assurance in June 2015 and established bank distribution agreements with Societe Generale and Fidelity Bank in Ghana, and with Standard Chartered in Kenya. In January 2016, we announced entry into Zambia via our acquisition of Professional Life Assurance. Once regulatory approval is received for the Zambia acquisition, our footprint in Africa will have expanded to four countries with access to nearly 1,300 agents and 200 bank branches.

M&G

M&G’s focus on producing superior long-term investment returns, coupled with well established distribution in the UK and across Europe, underpins its financial results. IFRS operating profit of £442 million was broadly in line with 2014, with cash remittances to Group of £302 million, up 6 per cent. At the end of 2015 M&G’s total funds under management were 7 per cent lower at £246.1 billion (2014: £264 billion), with external funds under management of £126.4 billion accounting for 51 per cent of the total, compared with 45 per cent five years ago. Despite outflows in 2015, M&G’s total funds under management have grown from £198.3 billion at the end of 2010 to £246.1 billion at the end of 2015, reflecting M&G’s continued focus towards innovation and asset class diversification.

Gross retail and institutional inflows amounted to £33.6 billion (2014: £38.0 billion). Redemptions in the retail business, however, resulted in overall net outflows of £7.0 billion in 2015. Retail net outflows of £10.9 billion (2014: net inflows of £6.7 billion) were partially offset by institutional net inflows of £3.9 billion (2014: £0.4 billion).

In the fourth quarter of 2015, M&G experienced net retail outflows of £3.5 billion, including £2.4 billion from Europe. This reflected the continuation of a market-wide change in investor sentiment away from fixed income, against a backdrop of high levels of volatility and macroeconomic uncertainties, conditions that have continued into the early part of 2016. Our strategy of diversification by asset class has helped attract good net inflows into several M&G multi-asset funds (totalling £2.0 billion) and into our retail property fund (£0.5 billion) in 2015.

At the end of 2015, retail funds under management were 18 per cent lower at £60.8 billion (2014: £74.3 billion). Retail funds under management from Continental Europe represent 39 per cent of total retail assets.

A track record of innovation in the institutional market has enabled M&G to be at the forefront of a number of specialist fixed-income markets, including leveraged finance and infrastructure investment. Net institutional inflows were £3.9 billion, compared with £0.4 billion in 2014. The M&G Alpha Opportunities Fund has been particularly popular with institutional investors, attracting £2.0 billion of net inflows during 2015.

M&G had a multi-billion-pound pipeline of institutional commitments at the end of 2015 across a diverse range of fixed income, real estate and alternative investment strategies that have yet to be invested. External institutional funds under management increased 5 per cent in 2015 to £65.6 billion (2014: £62.8 billion).

M&G’s disciplined approach to cost management is reflected in a small improvement in the cost-income ratio to 57 per cent (2014: 58 per cent), despite the impact of lower revenues from reductions in the level of average assets managed.

On 1 February 2016, Michael McLintock announced that he is retiring as Chief Executive of M&G Investments after 19 years in the role. I would like to thank Michael for his exceptional contribution to M&G over the last two decades. Under his leadership M&G has grown to become one of Europe’s largest fund managers by offering innovative investment solutions to meet the needs of our customers and clients. I wish him all the very best for the future. He will be succeeded later this year by Anne Richards, whose prior role was Chief Investment Officer and Head of EMEA at Aberdeen Asset Management. Anne joins the Board in June 2016.

M&G remains focused on producing superior long-term investment returns for clients, while continuing to diversify its business by geography and asset class and providing capital-efficient profits and cash generation for the Group.

Read more: Our businesses and their performance – United Kingdom – Asset management

 

Capital and risk management

We continue to take a disciplined approach to capital management and have implemented a number of measures over the last few years to enable us to make our capital work more efficiently for the Group. Our Solvency II outcome, following approval by the Prudential Regulation Authority of our internal model in December 2015, underscores the strength and resilience of the Group’s capital position. At 31 December 2015, Group Solvency II capital surplus8,9 was estimated at £9.7 billion, which is equivalent to a Group Solvency II capital ratio of 193 per cent.

Based on the Insurance Groups Directive solvency measure, our surplus position9 at 31 December 2015 was estimated at £5.5 billion (31 December 2014: £4.7 billion10), equivalent to a cover of 2.5 times.

In July 2013, Prudential plc was listed by the Financial Stability Board as one of nine companies to be designated as a Global Systemically Important Insurer, a classification that was reaffirmed in November 2015. Prudential is monitoring the development and potential impact of the related framework of policy measures and is engaging closely with the Prudential Regulation Authority on the implications of this designation.


£3,050m underlying free surplus generation

15% increase on 2014

 

£9.7bn Group Solvency II capital surplus

193% Group Solvency II capital ratio

 

Dividend

The Board has decided to increase the full-year ordinary dividend by 5 per cent to 38.78 pence per share, reflecting the continued strong financial performance of the Group in 2015. In line with this, the directors have approved a second interim ordinary dividend of 26.47 pence per share (2014: final dividend of 25.74 pence), which brings the total ordinary dividend for the year to 38.78 pence (2014: 36.93 pence). In addition, the Board has decided to award a special dividend of 10 pence per share reflecting the additional contribution to earnings from the specific management actions taken to position the balance sheet more efficiently under the new Solvency II regime.

Although the Board has been able to approve a special dividend of 10 pence per share in 2015, the Group’s dividend policy remains unchanged. The Board will maintain its focus on delivering a growing ordinary dividend, which will continue to be determined after taking into account the Group’s financial flexibility and our assessment of opportunities to generate attractive returns by investing in specific areas of the business. The Board believes that in the medium term a dividend cover of around two times is appropriate.

Full-year dividend pence per share+5%

2011: 25.19; 2012: 29.19; 2013: 33.57; 2014: 39.63; 2015: 38.78; Special dividend: 10.00
 

+5% over 2014 full-year ordinary dividend

Outlook

The strength of our 2015 results demonstrates the successful execution of our strategy and our distinctive ability to deliver profitable growth across the cycle. Asia remains at the heart of the Group and our progress this year is underlined by the strong growth that we have delivered across sales, earnings and cash from the region. This has been well complemented by our disciplined progress in our more mature markets of the US and the UK.

The current significant macroeconomic uncertainty and market instability is resulting in a more unpredictable near-term outlook for global growth prospects. While this creates a headwind for our fee-based businesses, our progress continues to remain underpinned by the structural demand for regular premium savings and protection products in Asia. Through proactive management of our product mix and balance sheet and the growing scale of stable, recurring income from our in-force portfolio, the Group has the flexibility and resilience to adapt to changes in the market and deliver robust earnings and shareholder value.

The Group’s strategy remains centred on the long-term opportunity of servicing an increasingly self-reliant middle class through the provision of savings globally and health and protection in Asia. We have premium franchises in our chosen markets of Asia, the US and the UK, with significant structural competitive advantages to deliver effectively conservative products to protect our consumers’ health and wealth and provide absolute and good relative returns to our shareholders.

In Asia, the growing savings and protection needs of a rapidly emerging and increasingly wealthy population underpin our long-term, structural growth prospects in the region. The high-quality, recurring nature of our income and the scale and diversity of our pan-regional platform position us well to smooth out the inevitable country-level fluctuations to deliver value across the cycle.

In the US, our business is focused on the provision of products for the savings and income needs of the baby boomers entering retirement. While the proposed Department of Labor regulations are likely to reduce the access to valuable retirement products and services to the American middle class, our competitive advantages of superior product performance, low costs and strong commercialisation skills align the business well to meet these growing needs in the new landscape. We are in the advanced stages of executing our contingency plans, which are designed to underpin our future prospects for both earnings and cash.

In the UK, our life business is proving adept at navigating the significant changes brought about by pension reforms and is successfully extending its product offering to meet evolving consumer needs. In asset management, M&G is currently experiencing headwinds but benefits from its scale and the diversity of its asset base. Our well regarded brands, investment performance track record and strong market positioning are key attributes that support our execution in this market.

We remain well capitalised with a defensive, high-quality balance sheet.

The disciplined execution of our strategy, underpinned by the recurring income and cash-generating nature of our business, positions us well to continue to deliver sustainable, long-term profitable value to both our customers and shareholders.

Group Executive Committee

Mike Wells with Prudential’s Group Executive Committee

Standing, left to right: Alan Porter, Jonathan Oliver, John Foley, Michael McLintock, Al-Noor Ramji, Julian Adams, Tim Rolfe.
Seated, left to right: Barry Stowe, Penny James, Mike Wells, Nic Nicandrou, Tony Wilkey.

How to contact us

 

Notes

  1. The comparative results referenced above and elsewhere in this document have been prepared using constant exchange rates basis except where otherwise stated. Comparative results on an actual exchange rate basis are also shown in financial tables in the Chief Financial Officer’s report on our 2015 financial performance.
  2. Recurring income from Asia in-force book represents external renewal gross earned premiums (including joint ventures).
  3. Underlying free surplus generation comprises underlying free surplus released from long-term business (net of investment in new business) and that generated from asset management operations. The 2012 comparative is based on the retrospective application of new and amended accounting standards and excludes the 2012 one-off gain of £51 million from the sale of the Group’s holding in China Life Insurance Company of Taiwan.
  4. Following the disposal of the Group’s 25 per cent interest in PruHealth and PruProtect in November 2014, the 2014 comparative results of UK insurance operations have been adjusted to exclude results of those businesses.
  5. Annual premium equivalent (APE) sales comprise regular premium sales plus one-tenth of single premium insurance sales.
  6. Asia 2012 IFRS operating profit of £924 million is based on the retrospective application of new and amended accounting standards as at 31 December 2013, and excludes the 2012 one-off gain of £51 million from the sale of the Group’s holding in China Life Insurance Company of Taiwan.
  7. Source: based on Life Insurance Association, Singapore data as at December 2015.
  8. The methodology and assumptions used in calculating the Group Solvency II capital results are set out in note II (c) of Additional unaudited financial information. The Group Solvency II capital ratio is based on outputs from the Group’s Solvency II internal model, approved by the Prudential Regulation Authority in December 2015.
  9. Before allowing for second interim ordinary and special dividends.
  10. Before allowing for 2014 final dividend.

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