Standard Life sells half of Hong Kong insurance business in attempt to cement greater China presence

Oliver Gill
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Standard Life announced an £11bn merger with Aberdeen Asset Management earlier this month (Source: Getty)

Standard Life has agreed to sell half of Hong Kong insurance business as part of "a major milestone" in the development of its Chinese operations.

The wholly owned subsidiary, called Standard Life Asia, will be sold to a Chinese joint venture that Standard Life has a 50 per cent interest in.

Standard Life Asia has around £600m of assets under administration.

Heng An Standard Life Insurance (Hasl) is a partnership between the FTSE 100 firm and Chinese firm Tianjin Teda.

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Today's transaction is not part of, nor has been influenced by, Standard Life's £11bn merger with fellow UK asset manager Aberdeen, company sources told City A.M..

Standard Life said it expects the deal to take up to 18 months to complete with regulatory approvals needed from both China and Hong Kong.

Once completed, a transaction value will be ascribed with Standard Life receiving a share of the proceeds in cash.

“The proposed transaction is a major milestone in the development of our insurance business in greater China, further strengthening our relationship with Teda," said Sandy Begbie, Standard Life's insurance executive lead for China.

Chief executive of Standard Life Asia Alan Armitage added: "The proposed transaction is an important strategic development which will allow us to further develop our proposition for customers and grow our presence in the region.”

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Standard Life Asia was founded in 1999 and is an authorised Hong Kong insurer, distributing savings and investment advice to customers. Meanwhile, Hasl was set up as a joint venture in 2003 to distribute similar services in mainland China.

Earlier this month, a consortium that included Beijing-based UCF agreed to pay HK$7.1bn (£740m) to buy Hong Kong Life from five local financial firms including Asia Financial Holdings and Chong Hing Bank.

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