He is lucky to have wind in his sails for these results: by some estimates, sales have risen 30 per cent in Asia and 40 per cent in the US, with a modest uptick even in the slow-moving UK. Analysts reckon Prudential’s embedded value – a key measure of an insurer’s worth – has increased by up to eight per cent to 653p per share.
In normal times, a consensus beat of the kind Prudential is heading for would delight investors. But the most dangerous element of the AIA debacle is the impending flotation of the business under ex-Prudential boss Mark Tucker. The shadow of an increasingly aggressive competitor in the Far East looms over these numbers.
Thiam is also under pressure to unlock value from Prudential’s shares. Brokers have price targets north of 800p on the stock. On Friday, it closed at 571.5p. Prudential insists an initial public offering (IPO) of its Asian arm, worth around £13bn, is not on the cards. In the medium term executives may want to re-think that.