SCARED TO invest in equities in these volatile markets? Fine, how about bonds instead? Either way, Prudential has the investment product for you, and its third quarter new business update showed that this broad portfolio of products has kept the group growing handsomely throughout the equity investment downturn.
The Prudential figures yesterday were way ahead of anything the City had been forecasting and answered some of the fears that have dogged the insurance giant in recent months. Has mutual fund investing in the UK collapsed? No. What about in the US since 11 September? Not there either. Surely slowing economic growth will scupper progress in Asia? Not yet. And would the closure of the Pru's direct salesforce in the UK lead to a decline in product sales? No again.
Fixed income fund sales helped M&G, the UK fund manager, keep its new business slide to 8 per cent, while unit trust sales are running 17 per cent down across the industry. Even in the US - where Prudential's need to bolster its operations was set back by the collapse of an over-ambitious merger deal with American General - sales were better than feared, despite more cautious comments on margin pressure. …