Pru puts faith in emerging markets boom

Michael Bow
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PRUDENTIAL chief executive Tidjane Thiam yesterday said retiring US baby boomers and a burgeoning Asian middle class would fuel the company’s aggressive growth plans over the next five years.

Thiam, who took over as Pru chief executive in 2009, sounded a bullish note on future growth prospects after posting double-digit profit increases in new business in Asia and the US. He added that many doubted the scale of opportunity for the company

“When we say we can double Asia in four to five years, they say it’s impossible – but they are looking at it from a mature markets perspective,” he said. “We have seven million customers in the UK and two million in Indonesia for example. There is enormous upside.”

The company’s third quarter performance was aided by a strong showing from its fund management division M&G, which posted net inflows of £8.9bn to take assets to a record high of £124bn.

Thiam said a ten per cent decline in total new business profit in the UK, generated from sales of life insurance products, was being offset by the growth in the asset management division.

“It’s two faces of the same coin,” he said. “Growth is adequate, all the money going out of the sector is going into asset management products.”

Its strong Asian business saw new business profit increase by 20 per cent to £990m in the nine months ending September. In the US, its new business profit over the same period increased 11 per cent to £756m.

Shares closed up 1.85 per cent.