June 20, 2018 / 10:21 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-L&G aims for 8-10 pct profit growth from fund business

* LGIM to focus on new products, expand internationally

* Will also look to grow in pensions, retail

* Shares up 0.8 pct, lag FTSE 100 (Adds analyst comments, share price reaction, background, bullet points)

By Simon Jessop and Emma Rumney

LONDON, June 20 (Reuters) - British insurer Legal & General is aiming for annual operating profit growth of 8 to 10 percent at its fund management business as part of a broader overhaul that includes plans to expand internationally.

Legal & General Investment Management (LGIM), one of the world’s largest asset managers with nearly 1 trillion pounds ($1.32 trillion) in assets, said it would give more details of the plans later on Wednesday at a meeting with investors.

The move comes against a backdrop of rising regulatory and cost pressures across the fund industry as well as changing habits among customers, who are increasingly being asked to save more for their retirement.

As part of its overhaul, L&G will also look to increase the range of its investments products, as well as expand its pensions, retail and personal investing businesses, it said in a statement.

Nigel Wilson, Group CEO said LGIM’s long-term success in the UK and growing success internationally had bolstered Legal & General Group’s double-digit operating profit growth over the past decade.

“The ... market in global asset management is approximately $80 trillion providing a huge growth opportunity for our efficient, customer-focused and well diversified business,” he said.

UBS analysts said the profit target, while in line with market consensus, was “ambitious” and it was looking for more detail about how it would be achieved, as well as insight to L&G’s acquisitions strategy.

At 0928 GMT, shares in L&G were up 0.8 percent, slightly lagging a 1.3 percent rise in the FTSE 100.

Analysts at Barclays said LGIM had proven “a remarkable success story for L&G”, with its scale making it “one of the most efficient and profitable asset managers in the world”, even though it only has a 1 percent share of the global market.

They said the business was also set to benefit from growing demand from pension schemes for its low-cost funds and products. They have an “overweight” rating and a 307 pence price target on the stock.

Barclays analysts estimated LGIM contributed about 20 percent of total group earnings in 2017.

L&G’s profits rose 32 percent in 2017 to 2.1 billion pounds, boosted by a slowdown in improvements in life expectancy in Britain.

$1 = 0.7598 pounds Reporting by Emma Rumney, editing by Silvia Aloisi and Jane Merriman

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