Anil Wadhwani, the CEO of Prudential and the first to be based in Hong Kong in the company’s 175-year history, has affirmed the city’s central role in Prudential’s expansion strategies in Asia and Africa following a robust post-COVID recovery in the region.
In an interview with SCMP, Wadhwani emphasised Hong Kong’s advantageous position as a hub for international insurance companies, citing the city’s potential for growth in the insurance sector and its strategic position for broader expansion across Asia.
“Looking ahead, we continue to see strong growth opportunities in Hong Kong to serve the mainland Chinese visitor customers coming into Hong Kong for saving, health and other protection products,” Wadhwani said.
Wadhwani transitioned to Prudential from Manulife in February and is based in Hong Kong, deviating from the traditional London-based CEO role. This shift aligns with Prudential’s recent restructuring, which refocused the company on life and health insurance, along with asset management services in Asia and Africa. It also follows the spin-off of its UK and European retirement businesses in 2019 and its US retirement arm in 2021.
With dual headquarters in London and Hong Kong, Prudential’s decision to base the CEO in Hong Kong is a significant move, also seen as a major achievement for Hong Kong’s chief executive John Lee Ka-chiu. Lee had previously committed to encouraging international insurance companies to establish regional hubs in Hong Kong for expansion.
“I am the first CEO in the history of the 175 years of Prudential to be based here, and we have chosen Hong Kong as our home as the city is our flagship business,” Wadhwani said.
Hong Kong stands as Prudential’s largest market in terms of total annual premiums and new business value in the first half of the year. The city boasts over 20,000 agents and a significant banking partnership with Standard Chartered.
In June, Prudential expanded its presence in the Greater Bay Area by opening its first branch in Macau. The move is part of Beijing’s plan to integrate Hong Kong, Macau, and nine mainland cities into a significant economic region. Wadhwani sees the Macau branch as an opportunity to tap into the potential of the Greater Bay Area, anticipating increased talent flow, capital movement, and cross-border trade.
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