Scottish Friendly has underlined the strengths of its business model with a rise of over one-third in sales for 2012.

Scotland's biggest financial mutual saw like-for-like sales of its core life and pensions products, based on the industry standard of regular premiums plus one-tenth of single premiums, rise 35% in the calendar year to £8.5 million from £6.3m in 2011.

It said growth was achieved despite the challenging economic climate and a depressed market for savings and investment products.

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Scottish Friendly's sales and marketing director, Neil Lovatt, said: "This has been yet another strong year for sales at the Scottish Friendly group as we have continued to reap the benefits of our growing e-business and partnership distribution.

"The new flexible online products we introduced in 2011 continued to grow in popularity. In December, building on our experience in the wrap platform market, we launched a new, flexible approach to Isa investment that really brings the world of stocks-and-shares Isas to everyone."

Scottish Friendly secured two major new partnerships in 2012 as the group diversified into the life cover and critical illness market.

The partners are Beagle Street, part of the group behind, and Neilson Financial Services, part of Australia's Hollard Life, under its Smart Insurance brand.

Additionally, the group developed its partnership with Golden Charter, helping to supply insurance policies to back the provider's funeral plans.