Speculation swirls over future of Prudential in the UK

Asian market seems to offer brighter prospects for the insurance giant

Speculation swirls over future of Prudential in the UK

Insurance News

By Terry Gangcuangco

Is the grass greener on the other side? That might just be the question for British insurance giant Prudential, whose Asian and US operations are doing better than what’s back home.

A report by the Financial Times said the move to sell UK annuities worth £10 billion (more than SGD$17.7 billion) has people speculating anew that this could be the beginning of the end for Prudential’s domestic business – the loss of which wouldn’t be so bad, if you ask investors and analysts.

They believe Prudential’s growth rate would be faster if Britain was taken out of the picture. Last week we reported how UK earnings were dragging down overall results.

“A split has always been something they have wanted to do, but market chatter has picked up recently,” said Janus Henderson fund manager Ben Wallace, as quoted by the Financial Times. Wallace thinks it would be good for Prudential to specialise.

The insurer is not commenting on the speculation, but Jupiter Asset Management fund manager Guy de Blonay said: “Talk of getting rid of the weakest parts of the business makes sense.”

Prudential, which recently entered Nigeria, operates in 14 markets in Asia.

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