AXA set for UK life and savings exit following platform sale

French insurance giant AXA has announced plans to exit the UK life and savings market, starting with the sale of its wrap platform business to Standard Life.

The move follows the company’s strategic review into UK life and savings market and will see the firm refocus its UK operations into “property & casualty, health and asset management”

The announcement of the sale of  AXA’s UK wrap platform business Elevate to Standard Life follows a similar move last week, as reported, for the disposal of its UK offshore investment bonds business (AXA Isle of Man) to Life Company Consolidation Group. Completion of the transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including the receipt of regulatory approvals, and is expected by Q4 2016.

And AXA has today also confirmed that it is “engaged in discussions” for the sale of its remaining UK life and savings assets, namely its direct protection business SunLife and its traditional (non-platform) investment and pension business.

The company wished to point that there is “no certainty” that these discussions will result in a further transaction being signed or, if signed, that the transaction will ultimately be completed. If agreed, these transactions would be subject to a number of conditions, including the receipt of regulatory approvals.

AXA UK property & casualty, health and asset management (Architas) operations are not included in the scope of the strategic review, nor of these transactions, the company said.

Commenting on the proposed UK sell off, Paul Evans, chief executive, AXA UK, said: “We have reviewed the strategic benefits of pursuing our activities in the UK life and savings market.

“After detailed consideration, we have come to the conclusion that these businesses could be even more successful if supported by organisations with a stronger strategic focus on the life and savings segment.

‘Rebalance the focus’

“These transactions would allow AXA to rebalance the focus of its UK activities towards property & casualty, health and asset management.”

The sale of Elevate, which is subject to regulatory approval, will add £9.8bn in assets under management to the Standard Life platform and bring the total assets under administration to £36.4bn.

AXA’s UK Life and Savings business is composed of AXA Wealth and SunLife. Over the last five years, AXA Wealth has more than tripled its assets under management from £15bn to over £45bn through its business portfolio.

Gary Robinson
Head of Video and Ezines at Open Door Media Publishing. Deputy Editor, International Investment. An experienced journalist and filmmaker with more than 20 years' financial services experience, both as journalist and originally as a fully qualified IFA, Gary works across both International Investment and InvestmentEurope titles. Previous video production credits include projects on BBC, C4 and SKY.

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