Financial services group Alexander Forbes reported on Monday that first-half profit from operations before non-trading and capital items was up 5% to R455m, in line with its trading guidance.

The institutional clients division delivered R916m of operating income in the six months to end-September, up 5% from a year ago.

The institutional clients division consists of consulting, retirement, investments and group risk businesses.

The administrator of pension funds said in a statement that operating income from consulting business rose 11%, outstripping expenses in the segment that rose 3%.

Retirements’ operating income was up 16%, driven by new business growth as well as growth in the existing client base.

Investments’ operating income was up 2%, supported by strong market returns from local and global equity markets.

Alexander Forbes life group risk grew gross written premium 22% to R246m, achieving annualised premium income of R534m.

The retail clients division delivered R690m of operating income, which is 5% higher than the same period of the previous year, with the majority of growth being delivered by the insurance business and, in particular, the short-term insurance business.

The company declared an interim dividend of 18c per share, which was up 6% from the year-earlier period.

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