LONDON, Feb 24 (Reuters) - Insurer and asset manager Standard Life posted a forecast-beating 9 percent rise in 2016 operating profit, helped by increasing client diversification, it said on Friday.
Operating profit before tax was 723 million pounds ($907.37 million), compared with 684 million pounds seen in a company-supplied consensus forecast.
"Despite industry headwinds, we are benefiting from our strengthening global brand and strong long-term relationships with a well-diversified range of clients and customers," chief executive Keith Skeoch said in a statement.
The company said it would pay a final dividend of 13.35 pence per share and full-year dividend of 19.82 pence, compared with a forecast 19.74 pence.
Assets under administration rose 16 percent to 357.1 billion pounds, above a forecast 335.4 billion.
Analysts at JPMorgan Cazenove said the growth in assets under administration "bodes well for fee-based revenue for 2017".
$1 = 0.7968 pounds Reporting by Carolyn Cohn; Editing by Rachel Armstrong