HSBC to sell off insurance arm

HSBC has launched the sale of its non-life insurance business, sources said yesterday, a division worth about $1bn (£633m) and part of the bank’s plan to strip away non-core units.

HSBC sent out an information memorandum to potential buyers, with first round bids due by mid-October, a source said. Its non-life insurance businesses earned profit before tax of about $1bn in 2010, according to a presentation in June.

“We do not comment on market rumours or speculation,” a Hong Kong-based HSBC spokeswoman said.