Group Chief Executive’s report

Strong performance
through focus on
long-term opportunities


‘I am pleased to report a strong
performance in 2013. This
performance has enabled us to
deliver all of our six 2013 ‘Growth
and Cash’ objectives.’

Tidjane Thiam
Group Chief Executive


I am pleased to report a strong performance in 2013. This performance has enabled us to deliver all of our six 2013 ‘Growth and Cash’ objectives. Over the four-year period we gave ourselves to achieve these objectives, the Group’s performance has been transformed, with all our business units now making significant contributions to both earnings and cash generation from a starting point where in 2008 most of the Group’s earnings and cash were coming from our historic UK business.

In December 2013, we defined a new set of objectives that we aim to achieve by 2017. We are entering this new period with confidence in the prospects of the Group and the capacity of our teams across Asia, the US and the UK to execute. With our 2013 results, we have made a positive start towards our newly launched 2017 objectives.

The Group’s strategy remains unchanged and is focused on capturing three significant opportunities across our three geographic markets: (i) in Asia, the significant and growing protection needs of the emerging middle class, particularly in our ‘sweet spot’ markets of South-east Asia; (ii) in the US, the financial needs of the ‘baby-boomers’ as they transition into retirement; and (iii) in the UK, meeting the savings and retirement income needs of an ageing population. Our disciplined execution of this strategy has continued to drive profitable growth and higher cash generation, underlining our commitment to delivering both ‘Growth and Cash’.


£2,954m
IFRS operating profit

17%
increase on 2012

£2,843m
EEV new business profit

16%
increase on 2012

£3,099m
underlying free surplus generation

15%
increase on 2012

£1,341m
net cash remittances from business units

12%
increase on 2012


Our strategy and operating principles

Strategy diagram - Asia: accelerate, United States: build on strength, United Kingdom: focus, Asset management: optimise; Balanced metrics and disclosures, Disciplined capital allocation, Proactive risk management

The Group’s strategy remains unchanged and is focused on capturing three significant opportunities across our three geographic markets. Our disciplined execution of this strategy has continued to drive profitable growth and higher cash generation, underlining our commitment to delivering both ‘Growth and Cash’.

For more information on Prudential’s strategy and operating principles

Our strategy

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Group performance1

Our Group IFRS operating profit2 based on longer-term investment returns increased by 17 per cent during the year to £2,954 million (2012: £2,520 million). Asia life operating profit2 was up 17 per cent3 to just over a landmark £1 billion, with collective double-digit growth from our four largest operations of Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia and increasingly material contributions from some of our smaller but fast-growing businesses such as the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. On an underlying basis4, Asia life IFRS operating profit was up 20 per cent3. US life IFRS operating profit increased 29 per cent to £1,243 million (2012: £964 million), reflecting our focus on driving fee income from our variable annuity business and a full year’s contribution of insurance income from REALIC. UK life IFRS operating profit was broadly in line with the prior year at £706 million (2012: £703 million) despite lower business volumes. M&G delivered record operating profit of £395 million, an increase of 23 per cent, reflecting continued strong third-party net inflows combined with favourable market movements in the period, which together have increased external funds under management by £14 billion to £126 billion (2012: increase of £20 billion to £112 billion).

Free surplus generation2 from our life and asset management businesses, a key indicator of the actual cash generation from our life in-force book and from our large asset management activities, was 15 per cent higher at £3,099 million, before reinvestment in new business, reflecting the benefits we derive from the increased scale of our in-force life portfolio and a growing contribution from our asset management businesses. Investment in new business of £637 million (2012: £618 million) has increased far less rapidly than new business profits, highlighting the capital-efficient nature of our growth. Net cash remittances from our businesses to the Group increased by 12 per cent to £1,341 million (2012: £1,200 million).

New business profit was up 16 per cent to £2,843 million (2012: £2,452 million), mainly led by 15 per cent growth in Asia, with strong contributions from both agency and bancassurance channels and 24 per cent growth from the US, reflecting the positive impact of pricing and product actions as well as the beneficial impact of rising interest rates.

APE sales increased by 5 per cent to £4,423 million (2012: £4,195 million), led mainly by our Asian business, which saw double-digit sales growth on a constant exchange rate basis in eight markets: Thailand up 79 per cent, China up 41 per cent, Hong Kong up 21 per cent, Vietnam up 20 per cent, Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines up 18 per cent and Korea up 14 per cent. Jackson APE sales were higher at £1,573 million (2012: £1,462 million), reflecting the excellent progress achieved by our no-guarantees Elite Access variable annuity product, which delivered sales volumes of £2,585 million ($4,045 million) in 2013, three times those achieved in 2012. In the UK, we continue to focus on value over volume, with retail APE sales lower by 12 per cent as the market adjusts to the post-Retail Distribution Review environment, while retail new business profits were 3 per cent lower year-on-year, as we have partially offset the impact of lower volumes through pricing and product actions. M&G has delivered strong net inflows of £9.5 billion (2012: £16.9 billion including one institutional debt mandate of £7.6 billion) as it benefits from record levels of retail sales from Continental Europe, while Eastspring Investments, our Asia asset management business, reported stable net inflows5 of £1.6 billion (2012: £1.6 billion).

Our balance sheet continues to be defensively positioned and at the end of the period our IGD surplus6 was estimated at £5.1 billion, equating to coverage of 2.8 times.

2013 ‘Growth and Cash’ objectives

The Group has now delivered all six of the 2013 ‘Growth and Cash’ objectives we set out at our 2010 investor conference.

  • At full year 2013, Asia delivered new business profits of £1,460 million, ahead of its objective of doubling 2009 new business profits to £1,426 million.

We had already achieved five of the six objectives early. To recap:

  • At full year 2012, we more than doubled Asia’s 2009 IFRS operating profit from £465 million to £988 million12 (2013 objective: £930 million), achieving this objective a year earlier than planned;
  • We also exceeded Asia’s 2013 cash objective of £300 million, delivering £341 million at full year 2012, again achieving this objective a year earlier than planned;
  • At the half year stage in 2013, we achieved two further objectives: delivering cumulative net cash remittances to the Group of almost £4.1 billion over the three and a half year period from 2010 against our end-2013 target level of £3.8 billion;
  • Also at the half year stage in 2013, our US business remitted £294 million to Group, exceeding its 2013 cash remittance objective of £260 million; and
  • Lastly, as announced at the investor conference in December 2013, the UK achieved its 2013 cash remittance objective of £350 million by remitting £355 million to the Group.

The successful delivery of all of our 2013 ‘Growth and Cash’ objectives highlights the continued disciplined implementation of the Group’s strategy.

2017 objectives

Looking ahead, confident in the future prospects of the Group, we announced new objectives7 for 2017 at our investor conference in December 2013 in London. These objectives are:

  1. Asia underlying free surplus generation8 of £0.9 billion to £1.1 billion in 2017 (2012: £484 million);
  2. 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 to 2017 to reach at least £1,858 million in 2017 (2012: £924 million9); and
  3. Group underlying free surplus generation of at least £10 billion cumulatively over the four-year period from 2014 to end-2017.

At the end of 2013, we have made an encouraging start towards achieving two of these 2017 objectives. We have grown Asia life and asset management pre-tax IFRS operating profit by 16 per cent3 over 2012 and we have also delivered an 18 per cent3 increase in underlying free surplus from Asia to £573 million in 2013. We will regularly update the market on our progress on all three objectives.

Download as excel file

  2013 2017 objective7
Asia underlying free surplus generation8 £573m £0.9–£1.1bn
Asia pre-tax IFRS operating profit £1,075m > £1,858m
Cumulative Group underlying free surplus generation from 2014 to end-2017 N/A > £10bn

Our operating performance by business unit – Asia

Prudential’s businesses in Asia continued to perform well in 2013 against turbulent markets, particularly during the second half of the year. Significantly, we succeeded in more than doubling the 2009 new business profit (£713 million) by 2013, reaching £1,460 million. We have therefore completed all three Asia-specific financial objectives we set ourselves in 2010 – the IFRS profit and cash remittance objectives were achieved last year, one year ahead of our initial ambition. This performance reflects the appropriateness of our strategic choices and our discipline in building the distribution reach necessary to make our products and services available to Asia’s rapidly growing middle classes so that we can both meet their needs and generate value for shareholders.

Operational highlights for 2013 reflect our continued focus on our ‘sweet spot’ markets, where the macro-economic, demographic, competitive and regulatory environments enable us to capitalise on our strengths and use multiple distribution channels to provide long-term savings and protection solutions to our customers. These same positive long-term drivers underpin our strong financial performance in 2013, with Asia IFRS operating profit up 16 per cent to £1,075 million (2012: £924 million2,3) and cash remitted to Group 17 per cent higher at £400 million (2012: £341 million).

In 2013 our Asia business delivered a 14 per cent increase in APE sales on a constant exchange rate basis (12 per cent on actual exchange rate) to £2,125 million. In times of currency volatility, comparison of results using constant exchange rates provides a better measure of underlying performance. In this paragraph, unless otherwise stated, movements are expressed on a constant exchange rate basis. Sales performance has been strong throughout the year, achieving double-digit growth in every quarter. Sales through the agency channel were 16 per cent higher, with increases in active manpower and improvements in productivity contributing broadly equally. Sales through bank partnerships grew by 18 per cent, excluding those from E-Sun, where we have chosen not to provide low-margin guaranteed products. Looking at our performance within the region, in Hong Kong our agency force continues to excel. We delivered a 30 per cent increase in agent productivity, with our with-profits and enhanced protection products proving to be especially popular. As a result, sales in Hong Kong grew by 21 per cent (up 23 per cent on actual exchange rate). Our multi-channel distribution in Singapore is particularly effective, with increases in active agency numbers (up 9 per cent) and productivity (up 10 per cent), coupled with very strong bancassurance partners in Standard Chartered Bank (SCB), United Overseas Bank (UOB) and Maybank, resulting in overall APE sales growth of 18 per cent (up 20 per cent on actual exchange rate). We continue to expand our agency force rapidly in Indonesia, with overall sales increasing by 18 per cent (up 7 per cent on actual exchange rate). As expected, we have seen average case sizes decline as we extend our reach outside Jakarta. However, over time, with increasing urbanisation, our first-mover advantage driven by our continued distribution expansion in upcoming cities and towns will drive long-term profitable growth. Malaysia APE sales were up 8 per cent excluding top-up products (up 7 per cent on actual exchange rate), which we have decided to de-emphasise deliberately. The 14 per cent increase (on actual exchange rate) in bancassurance sales from SCB and UOB in this market was particularly encouraging.

Our other smaller ‘sweet spot’ markets have also delivered excellent results, with collective growth in APE sales of 39 per cent. In the Philippines we have grown agency activity by 49 per cent and in Vietnam we have improved productivity by 16 per cent. In Thailand, the Thanachart bancassurance relationship is progressing well, delivering £22 million of APE sales in the first eight months of its operations. In Cambodia, where we launched in January 2013, our new life business has made a good start and the relationship with our distribution partner ACLEDA Bank is working well. We have also opened a representative office in Myanmar.

Our joint ventures in China and India represent different opportunities in these two large, but quite different markets. In China our business remains small in the context of the market, but we are very encouraged by the progress being made, with APE sales growth of 48 per cent in 2013. We consider this business to have great potential over the medium to long term. In India, our joint venture continues to be the market leader in the private sector, but the market is continuously going through fundamental restructuring and we expect it to remain challenging for some time.

We have niche positions in the Taiwanese and Korean markets that have been structured to meet our operating and financial disciplines, particularly around products and profitability. Within this context, both businesses are performing well. On 16 July 2013, we announced our intention to sell our closed-book life insurance business in Japan for US$85 million (£51 million at 31 December 2013 closing exchange rate), subject to regulatory approvals.

Asia’s life new business profit grew by 15 per cent to £1,460 million (2012: £1,266 million), outpacing APE sales growth of 12 per cent. The beneficial impact of higher interest rates, primarily in Hong Kong, was offset by the weakening of some Asian currencies relative to UK sterling, primarily the Indonesian rupiah. There has clearly been downward pressure on some of our Asian currencies relative to UK sterling. We believe that the economic fundamentals of these economies remain very attractive in the long term and that the tensions observed currently will actually contribute to the long-term stabilisation and growth of these economies by improving their trade balances and ultimately their current account balances. We remain focused on managing each of our businesses at the local level and on their performance in local currency, which is more indicative of their true performance and of their actual long-term growth potential.

Life IFRS operating profit was £1,001 million, up 17 per cent2,3, making a positive start towards our 2017 IFRS objective. EEV life operating profit grew by 22 per cent to £2,385 million, driven by our strong new business growth and the positive impact of higher interest rates on the in-force book.

Eastspring Investments saw net third-party inflows of £1.6 billion5, down on the half year mainly due to market volatility in the second half. Total funds under management (including money market funds) were up 3 per cent on the prior year (10 per cent on a constant currency basis) with net inflows and positive market movements being offset by currency weakness relative to UK sterling. IFRS profits were up 7 per cent and reflect discipline in cost management in challenging market conditions.

I am pleased to report that the long-running project to domesticate the Hong Kong branch of the Prudential Assurance Company has been successfully completed.

Asia remains a significant and attractive opportunity for the Group, underpinned by favourable structural trends of faster economic growth, leading to higher wealth, combined with growing and young populations, high savings rates and rising demand for protection. This is particularly true of the rapidly growing and increasingly wealthy Asian middle class. These opportunities are most evident in our ‘sweet spot’ markets of South-east Asia, including Hong Kong, where the combination of long-term structural trends and the breadth and depth of the Prudential franchise and distribution positions us well to achieve long-term sustainable and profitable growth.

Our operating performance by business unit – US

The US delivered a strong performance in 2013, maintaining its disciplined approach to new business and management of the in-force book, while also improving its capital position. Total US IFRS operating profit increased 30 per cent to £1,302 million (2012: £1,003 million). Life IFRS operating profit in 2013 increased by 29 per cent, to £1,243 million, driven by higher fee income as a result of ongoing positive flows and appreciation in average account values, as well as a first full year’s contribution from REALIC. Reflecting the cash-generative nature of Jackson’s business and capital formation during the year, cash remitted to the Group totalled £294 million, exceeding the 2013 objective of £260 million.

During 2013, equity markets experienced a strong rise as confidence in the US economy began to return and an increase in longer-dated Treasury yields followed long-anticipated actions by the Federal Reserve to taper bond purchases late in the year. In the variable annuity market, some larger variable annuity providers have consciously pulled back, while others are now returning. Against this background, Jackson’s market share of annuities with living benefits has remained relatively steady, while it is continuing to write new business at aggregate internal rates of return in excess of 20 per cent and with a payback period of two years.

Total variable annuity APE sales increased to £1,338 million in 2013 (2012: £1,245 million). This growth was exclusively driven by the rapid progress of Elite Access, our variable annuity without guarantees launched in early 2012, which contributed £259 million of APE sales in the period (2012: £85 million). Excluding Elite Access, variable annuity sales were 7 per cent lower than in 2012, which is the direct result of our disciplined approach to the management of the economic cycle in the variable annuity market. The success of Elite Access has helped increase the diversification of our product mix, with 31 per cent of our 2013 variable annuity sales not featuring living benefit guarantees (2012: 17 per cent). As a percentage of total sales, variable annuities with living benefit guarantees are at their lowest since 2008. In addition, during the second half of 2013 Jackson implemented various product initiatives to continue to balance value, volume, capital and balance sheet strength. Net inflows for variable annuities’ separate accounts continue to be strongly positive at £8.0 billion (2012: £7.8 billion), reflecting the growth in new business sales and low, stable levels of policy surrenders. Combined with the additional positive impact of market appreciation, this increased separate account balances to £66 billion at 31 December 2013 (31 December 2012: £49 billion).

Fixed annuity APE sales of £55 million remained relatively flat compared to 2012, while fixed index annuity APE sales of £91 million decreased 17 per cent.

New business profit increased 24 per cent to £1,086 million, reflecting the benefits of our pricing and product actions, the contribution from Elite Access and the positive effects of higher long-term yields.

EEV life operating profit increased by 38 per cent to £2,221 million (2012: £1,610 million), reflecting higher new business profits (as mentioned above) and the increased scale of our in-force book, which includes a first full year’s contribution from REALIC.

Jackson’s Risk Based Capital ratio at the end of 2013 was 450 per cent, compared to 423 per cent at the end of 2012. In 2013, statutory capital generation was driven by the strong operating performance. This capital generation enabled Jackson to remit £294 million (2012: £249 million) to Group, while supporting its balance sheet growth.

Jackson’s strategy is unchanged. We continue to price new business on a conservative basis, targeting value over volume, and our financial market hedging remains focused on optimising the economics of our exposures, therefore accepting a degree of volatility in our accounting results where they are not aligned with the underlying economics. This approach has enabled Jackson to deliver significant profitable growth across the cycle while maintaining a strong balance sheet. Since 2008 Jackson has remitted over US$1.8 billion of cash to the Group, demonstrating that Jackson’s recent growth is quickly translating into profits and into cash, the ultimate metric of our successful strategy.

Our operating performance by business unit – UK and Europe

The UK life and pensions industry underwent considerable regulatory and market change in 2013, with the appointment of two new industry regulatory bodies, the phasing in of auto-enrolment for company pensions and the introduction of the voluntary ABI Code on Retirement Choices. The implementation of the recommendations of the Retail Distribution Review has changed the distribution landscape and providers, distributors, advisers and their clients continue to adjust to the new environment. The Financial Conduct Authority’s Thematic Review into the UK annuity market, which ran throughout 2013, concluded in February 2014 with the announcement that it was launching a further study to examine competition and choice in the retirement income market as a whole. We continue to support both regulatory and other initiatives to improve consumer experience and outcomes.

We continue to manage our UK business by focusing on our strengths in individual annuities and with-profits products. The combined financial strength and investment performance track record of Prudential’s UK with-profits fund provide a key source of differentiation in a competitive market. The performance of our with-profits fund in 2013 has allowed us to add an estimated £2 billion to with-profits policies in the year and policyholders will typically see year-on-year increases of between 5 per cent and 8 per cent in accumulating with-profits policy values over the past year. Total bonus payments are expected to top £2.0 billion in 2014.

The onset of the Retail Distribution Review has significantly impacted the timing of sales volumes in the UK retail investments markets over the last two years. For Prudential, this resulted in very strong sales of onshore bonds in 2012, due to heightened activity prior to the implementation of the Retail Distribution Review, while in 2013 volumes returned to levels consistent with 2011, the last ‘undisturbed’ year. Onshore bonds APE sales of £176 million were 23 per cent lower as a result, which contributed to an overall decrease in retail APE sales of 12 per cent, to £697 million (2012: £795 million).

In individual annuities, market volumes declined 15 per cent during the year10 against a strong comparative, due to increased activity in 2012 prior to the introduction of Gender Neutral Pricing and the Retail Distribution Review. Our annuity sales sourced from internal vestings decreased 10 per cent as more customers are opting to defer their retirement date, the effect of which is partly offset by higher average fund values. The proportion of our internal customers who chose a Prudential annuity remained in line with 2012. Overall APE sales from individual annuities were 14 per cent lower than in 2012.

In corporate pensions, we continue to focus on securing new members and incremental business from our current portfolio of customers and on additional voluntary contribution plans within the public sector, where we now provide schemes for 69 of the 99 public sector authorities in the UK (2012: 68 schemes).

In the wholesale market, we have continued our selective participation in bulk annuities based on strict return criteria and using our financial strength, superior investment track record, extensive mortality risk assessment experience and servicing capabilities. Bulk annuity APE sales amounted to £28 million (2012: APE sales of £41 million), contributing EEV new business profit of £30 million (2012: £39 million).

Retail new business profit of £267 million in 2013 was 3 per cent below 2012, due to lower sales volumes, partly offset by the positive effects of product mix and proactive pricing actions. Overall, new business profits were 5 per cent lower year-over-year, reflecting lower bulk annuity volumes and lower retail new business profit.

IFRS life operating profit was in line with 2012 at £706 million (2012: £703 million), and EEV life operating profit of £1,033 million increased 19 per cent, reflecting our active management of the in-force book.

During 2013, the UK remitted cash of £355 million to Group (2012: £313 million), exceeding our cash objective of delivering £350 million.

In September 2013, Jackie Hunt joined as Chief Executive, Prudential UK and Europe, and became a member of the Board of Prudential plc. Jackie was previously Chief Financial Officer at Standard Life plc. Jackie is focused on delivering the strategic priorities for the business as outlined at the December 2013 investor conference.

Our direct advice service, Prudential Financial Planning, is seeing demand for advice from our existing direct customers. Adviser numbers grew to 196 advisers by the end of 2013, in line with our expectations.

During 2013, we commenced sales operations in Poland, one of Europe’s fastest-growing economies, which has an expanding middle class and high savings rates. We have made a good start to the business, building an agency sales network of 481 financial planning consultants across 12 branches. The agency sales network will continue to be rolled out to other major Polish cities and towns during 2014.

Our operating performance by business unit – M&G

Equity markets in developed economies rose to pre-crisis levels during 2013. By contrast, emerging markets suffered a series of setbacks as concerns about slowing economic growth in China and the tapering of quantitative easing in the US weighed heavily on investor sentiment.

Against this backdrop, M&G continues to deliver strong investment performance. Over the three years to 31 December 2013, 21 retail funds, representing approximately 69 per cent of its retail funds under management, produced first or second-quartile investment returns. The performance of funds managed on behalf of segregated institutional fixed income clients also remains very strong, with all actively managed fixed income mandates outperforming their benchmarks over this period.

M&G has pursued business diversification across funds, asset classes and geographies. Its retail funds are now registered for sale in 20 jurisdictions and M&G has operations in 18 countries.

Net retail fund flows in Continental Europe reached a record level of £7.6 billion, a 46 per cent improvement on the previous year. European retail funds under management now total £23.7 billion, up 64 per cent year-on-year, and represent 35 per cent of total retail funds under management, compared with 26 per cent at the end of 2012.

In the UK, M&G’s business has slowed after four consecutive years as the number-one house for net retail sales between 2009 and 2012. M&G remained the number-one firm for gross sales over the calendar year 2013, thereby leading the market for five consecutive years. However, the business did experience modest net outflows of £0.7 billion during the year, largely reflecting the decision in 2012 to slow flows into two market-leading UK corporate bond funds to protect investment performance. Investor appetite for equities strengthened in 2013 as markets recovered, but in many European countries fund buyers continue to have a structural preference for bonds and also favour mixed-asset funds.

It is still too early to offer a definitive assessment of the impact of the Retail Distribution Review, although we do expect more focus in the market on price. In the past few weeks, platforms have begun to disclose their own service pricing and any special fund fees agreed with asset managers. Those managers with strong brands and a reputation for investment performance will be expected to better withstand any such pressures on asset management fees.

M&G has continued its efforts to diversify its fund range. During the year, 10 retail funds attracted net sales of at least £100 million each, with the majority of money continuing to go into the M&G Optimal Income Fund, a flexible bond portfolio, and into the M&G Global Dividend Fund. Total net retail sales for the year were £7.3 billion, including the contribution from M&G’s associate company in South Africa. This is the fourth time in five years that M&G has posted net retail inflows exceeding £7 billion. After this very strong period of sustained net sales, we expect business to return to less elevated levels in 2014. Total retail funds under management at 31 December 2013 were £67.2 billion, 22 per cent higher than at the end of 2012 and up 251 per cent since the end of 2008.

M&G’s institutional business recorded net inflows of £2.1 billion during 2013, mainly through increased sales of alternative credit and leveraged loan products. Net inflows of £9.0 billion in 2012, a record level, included a single low-margin mandate of £7.6 billion. Over the year, total institutional funds under management increased by 3 per cent to £58.8 billion, and have now more than doubled since the end of 2008.

As in previous years, M&G has a strong pipeline of institutional business still to fund. Products designed to help fill the gap left by the decline in long-term commercial bank loans continue to attract considerable interest, while opportunities to lend to medium-sized companies and infrastructure projects are improving. M&G currently manages, on behalf of Prudential and external investors, around £24 billion of direct infrastructure investments and provides around £11 billion of funding to the wider UK economy. As well as providing loans to British business and other organisations, these include investments in social and economic infrastructure, (eg public and private investment in utilities, energy, transport, hospital and schools) and investment in social and residential housing, as mentioned below.

Our property business, formerly known as PRUPIM, was rebranded M&G Real Estate during the year. During 2013 it completed £3.5 billion of property transactions, covering both acquisitions and disposals. It has also returned to the UK residential property market for the first time in 30 years with a £105 million investment in London housing.

Fund sales, combined with a 15 per cent increase in equity market levels and an 8 per cent rise in bond markets, pushed total funds under management to £244.0 billion at 31 December 2013, 7 per cent higher than at the end of 2012. External client assets rose 13 per cent to £126.0 billion, nearly treble their level at the end of 2008, and accounted for 52 per cent of the total.

M&G’s operating profit rose by 23 per cent to £395 million, a new record. Underlying profits – excluding performance fees, carried interest and profits from our associate company – were up 20 per cent to £358 million. Over the past five years, underlying profits have grown at an annualised rate of 15 per cent, principally reflecting the consistent accumulation of external assets on the back of strong net sales.

M&G’s cost/income ratio remained unchanged at an historic low of 59 per cent, with higher fee income offsetting a larger cost base from increased headcount and ongoing investment in operational infrastructure.

M&G continues to provide capital-efficient profits and cash generation for the Group and remitted cash totalling £235 million during 2013, compared with £206 million in 2012.

M&G has been recognised for its investment performance with numerous awards, including Investment Manager of the Year, Fixed Income Manager of the Year and Real Estate Manager of the Year at both the Financial News Awards 2013 and European Pensions Awards 2013.

The business remains focused on delivering excellent investment performance and service to its clients while continuing to seek diversification by both asset class and geography. It is the commercialisation of this investment performance through the acquisition of new fund flows that produces attractive profits and cash flow for the Group.

Capital and risk management

We take a disciplined approach to capital management and have continued to implement a number of measures over the last few years to enable us to make our capital work more efficiently and more effectively for the Group. Using the regulatory measure of the Insurance Groups Directive (IGD), our Group capital surplus position at 31 December 2013 was estimated at £5.1 billion, before allowing for the final dividend, equating to coverage of 2.8 times.

With greater visibility on the potential outcome of Solvency II, we are reporting an economic capital11 surplus of £11.3 billion (2012: £8.8 billion), which is equivalent to an economic solvency ratio of 257 per cent (2012: ratio of 215 per cent). This result is based on an assumption of US equivalence, with no restrictions being placed on the economic value of overseas surplus, and using our internal model, which has not yet been reviewed or approved by the Prudential Regulation Authority.

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. Prudential is monitoring the development and the potential impact of the framework of policy measures and engaging with the Prudential Regulation Authority on the implication of this designation.

Dividend

The Board proposes to rebase the full-year dividend upwards by 4.38 pence, due to the strong and sustained operational and financial performance of the Group, evidenced by the achievement of all our demanding 2013 ‘Growth and Cash’ objectives. The directors recommend a final dividend of 23.84 pence per share (2012: 20.79 pence), which brings the total dividend for the year to 33.57 pence, representing an increase of 15 per cent over 2012.

The Board applies strict affordability tests against a broad range of criteria before making its dividend recommendation. It is the result of these tests, combined with the Group’s exceptionally strong performance in the past five years, that has enabled the Board to take the unusual decision to recommend the rebase of the dividend in consecutive years, 2012 and 2013.

It is worth emphasising here again that, although the Board has been able to recommend three upward rebases in the last four years, the Group’s dividend policy remains unchanged. The Board will maintain its focus on delivering a growing dividend from this new higher base, 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.

‘The Board proposes to rebase the full-year dividend upwards by 4.38 pence, due to the strong and sustained operational and financial performance of the Group’

Tidjane Thiam
Group Chief Executive

Full year dividend

2009: 19.85p; 2010: 23.85p; 2011: 25.19p; 2012: 29.12p; 2013: 33.57p, up 15%

Outlook

In 2013, we have delivered a strong performance.

The global macroeconomic environment is improving, with many signs of recovery in the US and the UK. While the transition to a world with a more normal US monetary policy might create some challenging short-term market and currency volatility in financial markets, a return to global growth and to a more normal interest-rate environment and the robust nature of the long-term secular drivers we benefit from in Asia are all positives for our business in the medium term.

We remain focused on pursuing the three significant opportunities – the significant protection gap in the Asian middle class, the transition of US ‘baby-boomers’ into retirement and the need for savings and retirement income for an ageing population in the UK – that are core to our strategy.

Of these, Asia remains more than ever central to the long-term, profitable growth opportunities for the Group. The longer-term structural trends of a rapidly growing and wealthier middle class with significant unmet needs for savings and protection remain intact and underpin our prospects in the region. We fully recognise the challenges that some of the economies in the region must deal with and we are never complacent in managing our diversified portfolio of businesses. We believe that the strength of our franchise in Asia, with leadership positions across our ‘sweet spot’ markets of South-east Asia, including Hong Kong, and our multi-channel, multi-product platform position us well to profitably capture this multi-decade opportunity.

In the US and the UK, we remain focused on meeting the needs of our customers and continue to implement a prudent strategy, putting value ahead of volume. This allows us to generate significant levels of earnings and cash in both geographies.

Over the last five years, the overall performance of the Group has been transformed, with all four of our businesses now making significant and – in Asia and the US – growing contributions to both earnings and cash generation, from a starting position where the UK was by far the main contributor to earnings and to cash generation. This newly achieved diversification of our cash generation lends both strength and resilience to the Group’s performance over the medium term.

The disciplined execution of our strategy has enabled us to deliver all of the six challenging 2013 objectives following one of the worst financial crises in history. Our confidence in the future prospects of the Group and our ability to execute across our businesses in Asia, the US and the UK is encapsulated in the three new objectives for 2017 that we announced at our December 2013 investor conference.

We believe the Group is well positioned to continue to deliver good value to customers and attractive returns to shareholders while continuing to manage capital prudently.

Notes

  1. The comparative results shown above and elsewhere in this document have been prepared using an actual exchange rate (AER) basis except where otherwise stated. Comparative results on a constant exchange rate (CER) basis are also shown for the analysis of IFRS and EEV operating profit based on longer-term investment returns in the Chief Financial Officer’s report on our 2013 financial performance.
  2. The 2012 comparative results have been adjusted from those previously published for the retrospective application of the new and amended accounting standards as discussed in note A2 in the IFRS financial statements. In addition, following its reclassification as held for sale during 2013, operating results exclude the results of the Japan life insurance business. 2012 comparatives have been retrospectively adjusted on a comparable basis.
  3. Excluding the 2012 one-off gain of £51 million from the sale of the Group’s holding in China Life Insurance Company of Taiwan.
  4. Underlying basis is calculated at constant exchange rate.
  5. Excluding money market funds.
  6. Before allowing for final dividend.
  7. 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.
  8. Underlying free surplus generated comprises underlying free surplus generated 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 one-off gain of £51 million from the sale of the Group’s holding in China Life Insurance Company of Taiwan.
  9. Asia 2012 IFRS operating profit of £924 million is based on the retrospective application of new and amended accounting standards, and excludes the one-off gain of £51 million from the sale of the Group’s holding in China Life Insurance Company of Taiwan.
  10. Source: Q4 2013 ABI APE Market Data.
  11. The methodology and assumptions used in calculating the economic capital result are set out in note II of Additional unaudited financial information. The economic solvency ratio is based on the Group’s Solvency II internal model which will be subject to Prudential Regulation Authority review and approval before its formal adoption in 2016. We do not expect to submit our Solvency II internal model to the Prudential Regulation Authority for approval until 2015 and therefore these economic capital disclosures should not be interpreted as outputs from an approved internal model.
  12. As previously published.
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