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Swiss Re's ReAssure buys Quilter life insurance, pension unit

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Swiss Re's UK-based ReAssure unit has agreed to buy the life insurance and pensions division of Quilter for £425 million (S$711.5 million), just weeks after the reinsurer halted plans to list the business in London.

[ZURICH] Swiss Re's UK-based ReAssure unit has agreed to buy the life insurance and pensions division of Quilter for £425 million (S$711.5 million), just weeks after the reinsurer halted plans to list the business in London.

The Zurich-based company last month shelved its plans for a US$4.1 billion flotation of ReAssure, citing weak demand from institutional investors.

The acquisition showed Swiss Re remained "fully supportive of ReAssure as the company continues to pursue its growth strategy", Thierry Leger, chief executive of Swiss Re's Life Capital Business said in a statement on Monday.

The purchase helps bulk up Swiss Re's closed book business, which deals in policies that are shut to new customers and where scale is important to generate profit.

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It will add over 200,000 customer policies and £12 billion of assets to ReAssure's platform, Swiss Re said.

Wealth manager Quilter, spun out of Anglo-South African insurance company Old Mutual last year, announced the sale as it published its first-half results showing pre-tax losses of £32 million, compared to a profit of £2 million in the first half of 2018, partly due to a one-off charge from the split with Old Mutual.

Adjusted profit rose 5 per cent to £115 million from £110 million in the first half of 2018, while assets under management and administration rose by 1.6 per cent to £118.4 billion.

The business Reassure is buying consists of Old Mutual Wealth Life Assurance Limited and its subsidiary Old Mutual Wealth Pensions Trustees Limited and includes about 300 employees.

The transaction will increase ReAssure's total policy count to 4.5 million and assets under administration to 81 billion pounds, Swiss Re said.

The world's second-largest reinsurer had wanted to spin off ReAssure to put the business under a more favourable regulatory regime and give it easier access to capital to fund its expansion.

The flotation has now been put on ice until at least next year, with Swiss Re saying long-term options remained open. 

REUTERS