- STM said it would give an update on trading ahead of its annual general meeting today; in particular relating to its business activities subsequent to the 8 March 2017 UK budget announcement and the implications for its new business pipeline for its QROPs products.

In response to changes imposed by the UK budget on the costs of transferring certain pensions to a QROP, management was quick to launch the International SIPP from its UK SIPP business as an alternative product to the Gibraltar or Malta based QROP proposition.

Whilst it was still too early to predict the long term contribution to group profitability of this product, the board was pleased to confirm that there has been considerable interest from intermediaries in the two months since launch.

This resulted in a significant uplift in business for the UK operation which was acquired as part of the London & Colonial acquisition announced in September 2016.

The ability to quickly launch this alternative product and promote it as a replacement to the affected QROPs products further validated its strategy of acquiring the UK business, and re-enforces the group's view that it is at the forefront of delivering financial solutions to the expatriate marketplace.

The expectation that the UK budget changes would impact 80% of new QROP applications proved accurate.

The businesses in Gibraltar and Malta downsized their new business teams, negating some of the impact on expected profitability for those operations, and the "annuity" nature of the revenue streams of the existing books of business remained wholly unaffected by the changes.

It would still be too early to say with any degree of certainty the extent to which the International SIPP offering will replace the foregone QROP applications, however, the group saw a reasonable uptake of International SIPP applications already and growing interest.

STM said it expects a proportion of the foregone QROPS revenue will be clawed back, albeit at slightly lower margins.

Whilst management would be hopeful of increasing revenues from new business applications for its International SIPP, it could further reduce costs in the business development area should the International SIPP not gain traction in certain geographical areas.

Given the impact of the UK budget, the board continued to explore possible consolidation opportunities in the QROP market, however this initiative remained at a very early stage of progress.

With the imminent launch of the Group's QROP solution for UK expatriates living in Australia, a strong first quarter from its life assurance operations and the actions taken to address the changes in the QROP market, the board was confident in meeting revised 2017 market expectations.

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