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Profit up, income down at Swiss Life

Switzerland’s largest life insurance company, Swiss Life, has reported a profit of SFr606 million ($678 million) for 2011, up eight per cent on 2010.

This was the result of a streamlining programme and excellent returns from capital investments, the Zurich-based company said in a statement on Wednesday.

“The renewed increase in operational effectiveness enables us to continue to build our strong market position in the current environment,” said CEO Bruno Pfister.

However, total income fell by ten per cent to SFr17.1 billion. Losses were recorded in France and Germany, the group’s most important foreign markets.

One reason for this drop in income was the above-average year in 2010, which was boosted by a tax amnesty in Italy. This enabled rich Italians to invest a lot of money in so-called insurance wrappers, instruments into which investors can place stocks, hedge funds or virtually any other bankable assets, allowing them to pay less tax on investment income.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR