Lincoln National Management Discusses Q2 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Lincoln National (LNC)

Q2 2012 Earnings Call

August 02, 2012 1:00 pm ET


Jim Sjoreen - Investor Relations Professional

Dennis R. Glass - Chief Executive Officer, President, Director, Member of Executive Committee, Member of Corporate Action Committee and Member of Committee On Corporate Action

Randal J. Freitag - Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President


Randy Binner - FBR Capital Markets & Co., Research Division

Jamminder S. Bhullar - JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division

Suneet L. Kamath - UBS Investment Bank, Research Division

Edward A. Spehar - BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division

Christopher Giovanni - Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division

John M. Nadel - Sterne Agee & Leach Inc., Research Division

Steven D. Schwartz - Raymond James & Associates, Inc., Research Division

Thomas G. Gallagher - Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division

Ryan Krueger - Dowling & Partners Securities, LLC

Joanne A. Smith - Scotiabank Global Banking and Market, Research Division

A. Mark Finkelstein - Evercore Partners Inc., Research Division



Good afternoon, and thank you for joining Lincoln Financial Group's Second Quarter 2012 Earnings Conference Call. [Operator Instructions] At this time, I would like to turn the conference over to Senior Vice President of Investor Relations, Jim Sjoreen. Please go ahead, sir.

Jim Sjoreen

Thank you, operator, and good afternoon, and welcome to Lincoln Financial's second quarter Earnings call.

Before we begin, I have an important reminder. Any comments made during the call regarding future expectations, trends and market conditions, including comments about liquidity and capital resources, premiums, deposits, expenses and income from operations, are forward-looking statements under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from current expectations. These risks and uncertainties are described in the cautionary statement disclosures in our earnings release issued yesterday and our reports on Forms 8-K, 10-Q and 10-K filed with the SEC.

We appreciate your participation today and invite you to visit Lincoln's website,, where you can find our press release and statistical supplement, which include a full reconciliation of the non-GAAP measures used in the call, including income from operations and return on equity, to their most comparable GAAP measures.

Also, presenting on today's call are Dennis Glass, President and Chief Executive Officer; and Randy Freitag, Chief Financial Officer. After their prepared remarks, we will move to the question-and-answer portion of the call.

I would now like to turn the call over to Dennis.

Dennis R. Glass

Thank you, Jim, and good afternoon, everyone. Overall, it was another excellent quarter for us with all of our businesses delivering solid results. Our strong performance underscored the strength of our franchise, flexibility of our balance sheet and the aggressive actions we continue to take in response to difficult macroeconomic trends. We expect that the tough macro conditions will continue as will the deliberate steps we are taking to keep us on track for delivering on our long-term goals and objectives.

Let me now share some highlights from the quarter. We ended the second quarter with operating return on equity at 12%, book value per share growth of 5%, income from operations per share of 8% and operating revenue growth of 2%, all clear indicators that we are delivering on the strategies we have discussed with you in the past.

Increased deposits and positive net flows in Retirement Plan Services, as well as strong top line results in Group Protection, demonstrate that our investments in talent, technology and distribution are yielding results.

In addition, although Life sales were mixed, we did experience strong results in the higher return products we had pivoted to the past several quarters. And finally, our strong capital position enabled us to repurchase another S150 million in shares. With our current valuation inconsistent with the actions we have taken and the results we have achieved, buying our shares is one of our best capital management uses.

Let me now comment on underlying businesses. Life Insurance sales for the quarter were $128 million, down from a year ago. This decline was expected as we've continued to be a leader in implementing pricing actions that respond to the low-interest rate environment. We are committed to taking additional action if conditions require us to do so.

In addition to making pricing adjustments, we've also continued our pivot to higher-return, less-interest-rate-sensitive products. Second quarter sales of these products, which include Variable Universal Life, Indexed Universal Life and Term, were up 20% from the prior year quarter.

Moving forward, our ability to keep pivoting to these products will be driven by the breadth, depth and capability of our distribution teams.

Turning to the annuity business. We are also responding to low interest rates and market volatility by implementing product changes on our variable annuity platform, by expanding our Protected Funds solutions and by adding new distribution partners and strengthening relations within existing networks. You have heard me say this before, but we are pleased with where we are positioned in the industry. We maintain a consistent market presence, and we remain more interested in offering products on our terms, and we are focused on taking market share.

Positive net flows from the second quarter helped drive annuity account balances of $90 billion, up 2% from a year ago. We continue to see strong results from our Protected Funds series, as evidenced by 65% of June variable annuity purchasers opting for this solution. Our Protected Funds remain a good solution for consumers because they can lower the volatility of their returns and a good offering for Lincoln because they reduce our hedging costs.

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