Thursday 6 December 2018 1:38 pm

Michael Spencer buys $52m controlling stake in life insurance startup Singapore Life

City A.M’s industry and manufacturing correspondent. You can follow me on @alexmdaniel, or email:

City A.M’s industry and manufacturing correspondent. You can follow me on @alexmdaniel, or email:

Veteran investor Michael Spencer is to invest $52.7m (£41.3m) in insurance startup Singapore Life, in a deal that gives him command over the company.

Spencer’s investment company IPGL has acquired a 33.8 per cent stake in the startup from Chong Sing Holdings, a Hong Kong-based financial group, bringing his total stake to 63.2 per cent.

The deal sees the Singaporean life insurance firm, which began operating last year, valued at $156m.

In a joint statement confirming the deal, Spencer said he was “extremely impressed” by what Singapore Life chief executive Walter de Oude had achieved in a short space of time.

“This is exactly the type of disruptive business we like to invest in, one that is making full use of technology to deliver key financial services to customers,” he said.

Spencer’s fortune is estimated at around £1bn, and he has acquired a range of finance and digital businesses through IPGL, which he owns.

Investments include Viewforth Investment Partners, London hedge fund DDCap, an Islamic finance firm, and wine merchant BI Group.

Singapore Life, the latest target, claims to be Singapore’s fastest-growing life insurance company, and operates entirely digitally.

Established in 2014 by de Oude, a former HSBC executive, it began operating in June 2017, and provides cover worth around 6.6bn Singaporean dollars (£3.77bn).

De Oude said the investment demonstrated “significant confidence” in the company. “I am looking forward to continuing to work with Michael Spencer and his team,” he added.

The deal has been approved by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, IPGL said.