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Legal & General announced a 16 per cent increase in profits as it reaped the benefits of a push into the retirement market.

The insurer said on Wednesday that profits from its retirement division jumped 27 per cent last year as it signed big bulk deals with the pension schemes of Rolls-Royce and ICI.

That pushed up the group results, after flatter performances from other businesses such as investment management and insurance.

Other big insurance companies have moved away from retirement products such as annuities, complaining that EU capital rules make that sort of business difficult to write

The dividend was increased by 7 per cent 14.35p, in line with City estimates but market a drop in the dividend growth rate which increased by a fifth last year.

Nigel Wilson, chief executive, said:

Our long term approach to strategy and investment coupled with outstanding execution has again delivered terrific financial performance in 2016….We believe the UK remains a great place for us to help fill the huge funding gaps and under-provision of key financial products.

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