Partnership Drops Most Since December as Regulation Hurts Sales

Partnership Assurance Group Plc (PA/) dropped the most in three months in London trading after the annuity provider said U.K. regulatory changes will continue to hurt sales in 2014.

New business fell 27 percent to 297.1 million pounds ($494 million) in the three months through December, from the year-earlier period, the Surrey, England-based company said in a statement today. First-quarter sales will be lower still, Partnership said.

“How quickly you move from short-term disruption to the market to long-term growth is difficult to predict,” Chief Executive Officer Steve Groves said in an interview. “We are starting to see a recovery but nowhere near the level before,” the introduction of the regulator’s Retail Distribution Review last year, he said.

Asset managers and insurers, including Partnership, which is majority owned by Cinven Partners LLP, have been affected by the rules, which banned advisers from taking commission from products sold. Partnership said in August that its main market probably wouldn’t meet its 2013 growth target. Its shares tumbled in November after its sales forecast fell short of analysts’ estimates.

The shares dropped 7.7 percent to 294.6 pence at 12:02 p.m. in London trading today, its biggest decline since December 13. The stock has fallen 23 percent since its initial public offering in June.

New business sales for the full year fell 3 percent compared with an 18 percent decline for the market, Groves said. Operating profit for the full-year rose 17 percent to 131 million pounds and the company will pay a 3 pence-a-share dividend, the first since its IPO.

To contact the reporters on this story: Liam Vaughan in London at lvaughan6@bloomberg.net; Sarah Jones in London at sjones35@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Edward Evans at eevans3@bloomberg.net Jon Menon, Steve Bailey

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