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Standard Life boost

PENSIONS and investment group Standard Life recorded a 79pc increase in new business in the first quarter of 2011.

The company said that it was boosted by a 50pc rise in single premium investments. Standard Life has had a good start to the year "despite challenging market conditions," said Nigel Dunne, the group's chief executive. The group, which operates two divisions in Ireland, said sales in its domestically driven business rose 62pc.

Its Standard Life International business, which sells mainly to British clients, nearly doubled sales in the first three months of the year, as business grew 93pc, due to the group putting new distribution channels in place.