David Munro. Picture: FREDDY MAVUNDA
David Munro. Picture: FREDDY MAVUNDA

Liberty’s share price rose 3.4% to R129 on Friday morning after it issued an upbeat operating update for the March quarter.

"Actions to achieve the group’s medium-term strategic priorities are in full flight. Management is confident that Liberty has all the ingredients for success and will continue to focus on executing the plans to restore the performance of the business," Standard Bank’s life insurance subsidiary said.

A key priority of former Standard Bank corporate and investment banking CEO David Munro, when he replaced Thabo Dloti as Liberty’s CEO in May 2017, was to turn around the insurer’s retail division.

Liberty said in Friday’s statement that its retail division had secured R1.5bn new business during the March quarter, which was 3% lower than in the matching period in 2017.

Excluding its linked investment service provider (lisp), the retail insurance division grew its net inflows to R514m, from R292m in the comparative period, by reducing policy surrenders and maturities.

Its "individual arrangements lisp" attracted R545m of gross new business inflows, which was 19% up on the comparative period.