WEALTH MANAGEMENT | Tony Chua, Singapore

UOB wants to chop insurance arm

According to Top News, The move is a clear indication of increased optimism among executives, who are looking at terminating the business.

The deal also emphasizes the ongoing interest of Western firms, which are seeking to tap Asia's growing personal wealth.

The sources that are close to the matter specified that Southeast Asia's second-biggest lender, Prudential Plc, which is among the global insurers bidding for the company, is being advised by HSBC on the sale of the business dubbed UOB Life Assurance.  

Apart from Prudential Plc, even Manulife Financial Corp, Canada's largest insurer, has displayed interest in UOB Life.  It was back in 1990 when UOB Life, a wholly owned subsidiary, was integrated in Singapore. Going by November 2008 figures, it held over S$2 billion ($1.4 billion) in assets.  

"The life insurance business was never really a core strategy for them. In addition, UOB Life has always struggled to compete with some of the larger life insurers in the region, such as Great Eastern, majority-owned by rival Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp Ltd," said a source.

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