LONDON (Reuters) - British life insurer Resolution achieved a 59 percent jump in pretax operating profit last year, it said on Tuesday, as it heralded the completion of its restructuring and signed a fund management deal with Schroders.
The firm, set up by entrepreneur Clive Cowdery to buy underperforming life insurers, said it would adopt its Friends Life brand, dropping the Resolution name, while Cowdery will step down as a non-executive director.
In an earnings statement, Resolution said it had met key financial targets for 2013 and achieved 160 million pounds of cost savings during a three year restructuring. It is now focused on establishing itself as a "leading scale player" in Britain's life and pension market.
"It is appropriate in this new phase to move away from a restructuring brand," the company said.
The group also said it was transferring management of 12.2 billion pounds ($20.3 billion) of its clients' equity and multi-asset funds previously run by F&C Asset Management to Schroders
The firm is also taking a further 2.3 billion pounds of fixed income assets from F&C, which is being bought by Bank of Montreal, to be managed in house by its asset management arm Friends Life Investments.
Chief Executive Andy Briggs said in a conference call with journalists that the decision to end the relationship with F&C was based on "driving economic value for shareholders."
The group said its free surplus stood at 331 million pounds, up 10 percent from a year earlier, while the value of new business rose 5 percent.
The full-year dividend was unchanged at 21.14 pence per share, covered 1.1 times by the sustainable free surplus, and the group said it would consider paying out more to shareholders when coverage exceeds 1.3 times.
(Reporting by Chris Vellacott; Editing by Mark Potter)