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Suncorp: Life doesn't mean life

Australian listed financial services firm Suncorp has rebranded its insurance and asset management business 'Suncorp Life' sparking speculation the wealth management business was again up for sale.

Wednesday, July 1st 2009, 5:25AM 1 Comment

by David Chaplin

According to the Australian Financial Review, AMP was already eyeing up the newly-named Suncorp Life, which includes the Tyndall funds management business and Asteron in New Zealand. AMP was the losing bidder for the Australian arm of Aviva, which was sold to rival National Australia Bank (NAB) for approximately A$825 million last week.

Last October Suncorp was close to offloading its wealth management business before the Australian bank government guarantee offered the beleagured group a lifeline.

In a statement released to the ASX this week, Geoff Summerhayes, Suncorp group executive, said the 'Suncorp Life' moniker was a clear indication of "the business' strength, and strategic focus on life risk".

"Suncorp Life aspires to be a leading life insurance specialist with first tier scale and distribution in Australia, and to occupy the clear second position in New Zealand," Summerhayes said in the statement. "Our business strength lies in life risk and the new business unit name - Suncorp Life - sends a strong message to all stakeholders that our business model is aligned to our aspiration."

However, he told Australian media that Suncorp would not hive off its funds management businesses, Tyndall Investment Management and Suncorp Investment Management.

In a presentation to analysts, Suncorp said in the face of increasing lapse rates across the insurance industry it had launched a number of strategies to protect "core portfolios".

The group said it had embarked on national roadshows for advisers in Australia and New Zealand and created a "targeted forum for top 100 life risk advisers". At the same time Suncorp said it had "adjusted" sales force incentives and was developing new life insurance products.

As well, the firm said it would embark on "aggressive cost management" including automating new life business applications and look to leverage "trans-Tasman economies of scale and scope".

 

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Comments from our readers

On 2 July 2009 at 11:45 am Barry Milner said:
In New Zealand Suncorp through Asteron should look to be taker not takee. In other words they should build on their increasingly popular and successful brand and seek to achieve critical mass by acquisition rather than enabling some other player to achieve that same objective by acquiring them. The New Zealand market place needs a strong broker oriented life company, what it does not need is for one of the old traditional companies or banks to take yet another player out of the game.
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