Why Standard Life Is Up 29% This Year

LONDON -- Standard Life (LSE: SL.L  ) has advanced 29% to 266 pence so far during 2012, making the share one of this year's best performers in the FTSE 100 (UKX).

The financial institution, which boasts 6 million customers and looks after assets of more than 200 billion pounds, has defied the wider economic gloom with a series of resilient statements.

During March, Standard Life reported annual results that showed assets under administration up 3% and total income rising 5% to 1.579 billion pounds. However, operating profits before tax advanced 28% to 544 million pounds in part due to cost efficiencies of 45 million pounds. The dividend was raised 6% to 13.8 pence per share as well.

During April, Standard Life issued a trading statement that confirmed assets under administration had increased 4% during the first three months of the year. Chief Executive David Nish said at the time:

Inflows into our long-term savings businesses and strong performance from Standard Life Investments have helped to increase both our Group assets under administration and Standard Life Investments third-party assets to record levels, driving growth in fee based revenue while we continue to improve the efficiency of our business.

Then in August, Standard Life revealed first-half operating profits before tax had advanced 15% to 302 million pounds. Furthermore, the interim dividend was raised by 6.5% to 4.9 pence per share. The majority of progress was delivered by operations in the U.K., which Standard Life said should "continue to perform well."

Standard Life's third-quarter trading update will be published on Oct. 31, and may provide further resilient news.

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