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May 12, 2015

UK pension reform hits Just Retirement sales

LONDON, May 12 (Reuters) – British pension reform which
reduced demand for interest-bearing annuities hit specialist
provider Just Retirement’s nine-month sales, but the
outlook for newer products cushioned the impact on the share

The pension changes, announced last year, mean people who
are retiring no longer needed to buy an interest-bearing annuity
with their pension pots.

May 11, 2015

EU watchdog plans first pensions stress tests by end-2015

LONDON (Reuters) – The European Union’s pensions and insurance watchdog aims to complete stress tests on pension funds by the end of 2015, its chairman said, in one of the world’s first examinations of how the funds can cope with market dislocations.

Gabriel Bernardino, chairman of the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA), told Reuters in an interview at the Reuters Financial Regulation Summit that the regulator had a target to test pension funds representing up to 50 percent of assets or members across 17 EU countries.

May 11, 2015

Insurers’ dividend growth in doubt amid solvency worries

FRANKFURT/LONDON, May 11 (Reuters) – Expectations of rising
dividends and share buybacks from Europe’s insurance companies
are fading as ultra low interest rates make it harder for them
to meet new capital regulations.

Rock-bottom interest rates reduce insurers’ investment
returns, raising the risk of them having to eat into capital
reserves to pay policyholders.

May 7, 2015

Aviva shuts Friends Life head office in rapid integration move

LONDON, May 7 (Reuters) – British insurer Aviva said
it was closing the London head office of recently bought Friends
Life as it reported rapid progress in integrating the
acquisition, a key part of a turnaround led by Chief Executive
Mark Wilson.

Aviva announced the agreed 5.6 billion pound ($8.5 billion)
Friends acquisition late last year, against a backdrop of UK
pension reforms allowing retirees more choice in spending their
pension pots, instead of being forced to buy an annuity – a key
source of income for the insurance industry.

May 6, 2015

Prudential will see strong first-half earnings, outgoing CEO says

LONDON, May 6 (Reuters) – Prudential will post “very
strong” first-half earnings, outgoing chief executive Tidjane
Thiam said on Wednesday, as the insurer reported an 11 percent
decline in new business profit in the first quarter.

Thiam, who leaves at the end of the month to run Credit
Suisse, said a healthy performance in protection
insurance across the company’s Asian, U.S. and British divisions
would boost the broader earnings numbers when they are reported
in three months.

May 6, 2015

L&G says focus on infrastructure whatever election outcome

LONDON, May 6 (Reuters) – Legal & General’s will
focus on long-term investment in British infrastructure and
property regardless of the outcome from this week’s general
election, the insurer said on Wednesday as it posted record
quarterly cash generation.

Britain will vote on May 7 with the two main parties level
in most polls and neither on track to command a majority.

May 1, 2015

Business as usual seen at Prudential under new CEO Wells

LONDON, May 1 (Reuters) – Investors and analysts expect
business as usual at British insurer Prudential after it
appointed internal candidate Mike Wells, head of the company’s
U.S. arm, as successor to Tidjane Thiam.

The insurer set out targets at the end of 2013 to expand its
Asian life and investment management businesses, fuelled by
rising demand for insurance among Asia’s growing middle class.

May 1, 2015

SVG Capital survives shareholder revolt at annual meeting

LONDON, May 1 (Reuters) – British investment trust SVG
Capital survived an investor rebellion at its annual
general meeting on Friday, when nearly 40 percent of votes were
cast against its pay policy for top executives and the
re-election of its chairman.

At last year’s meeting just 5.5 percent of votes were cast
against the election of Chairman Andrew Sykes and 1 percent
against the pay policy, a SVG Capital statement showed.

Apr 30, 2015

Swiss Re weathers competition to deliver first-quarter profit rise

ZURICH/LONDON, April 30 (Reuters) – Swiss Re, the
world’s second-largest reinsurer, beat forecasts with a 17
percent rise in first-quarter net profit on Thursday, boosted by
strong investment returns, and said it was able to renew
policies at “acceptable” rates.

Swiss Re and other reinsurers help insurance companies cover
the cost of major damage claims, such as for hurricanes and
earthquakes, in exchange for part of the premiums their
insurance company clients pay.

Apr 29, 2015

Euro zone QE helps Standard Life first-quarter funds boost

LONDON (Reuters) – Money-printing in the euro zone helped drive flows into Standard Life’s funds in the first quarter as investors searched for higher-yielding assets, the British insurer and asset manager said on Wednesday.

Bonds are posting negative yields in several European countries after the European Central Bank announced a trillion euro bond-buying – or quantitative easing – programme, which kicked in last month.

    • About Carolyn

      "I have worked at Reuters for more than 20 years but I switched in Sept 2014 to a new beat - insurance and fund management. I write about insurance deals, fund trends, geopolitical risks insured by Lloyd's and I'm grappling with understanding company accounts."
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