NU Online News Service, Jan. 29, 2004, 6:09 p.m. EST – StanCorp Financial Group Inc., Portland, Ore., says its profits increased 31% in the fourth quarter of 2003.[@@]

The parent of Standard Insurance Company is reporting $44.5 million in net income for the quarter on $510.7 million in revenue, up from $33.9 million in net income on $493.7 million in revenue for the fourth quarter of 2002.

Sales were up only about 3% in the company’s large employee benefits unit, but interest rates were a little higher at the end of the year than they were earlier in the year, StanCorp says.

Strong sales and customer retention and the rising stock market helped the company’s retirement services revenue and profits.