The company, the main markets of which have historically been European, said Asia had been pivotal in its “rest of the world” first quarter sales of £9.9m, which trumped sales in both northern and southern Europe, which were £3.3m and £8.3m respectively.
The company has only a one-man operation based in Hong Kong, which in the first quarter of last year contributed to more meagre “rest of the world” sales of just £2.6m.
Rocco Sepe, managing director of Friends Life’s international businesses, which also include Friends Provident International (FPI), and a stake in Malaysia’s AmLife, said Asia as a region was likely to be an increased focus for Luxembourg-based Lombard in future.
“We would like to do more business in Asia. We have one marketing consultant there at the moment – he is the sum total of our business. The question for us is can we do more? We are down there prospecting at the moment. We have a couple of solid partnerships and the signs are encouraging for the future.”
Sepe describes as “record” the overall quarter one sales for Lombard, as well as those of FPI, which were £34.4m and 63.4m respectively.
On a regional basis, Asia was also the source of the strongest growth for FPI, where total sales for the quarter were £32.8m, up from £26.9m in 2010, an increase of 22%.
Sales growth in the Middle East was 18%, with the quarter’s total standing at £11.1m. Europe ex-UK was down 28%, though UK sales reported impressive percentage growth of 78%, though the sum total was £4.8m.
Overall, Sepe described the results as showing “good continued momentum.”