Sun Life looking to expand in Hong Kong

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 14 March, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 14 March, 2006, 12:00am

Sun Life Financial, which bought CMG Asia last year, will further expand in Hong Kong, according to Geoffrey Saggers, chief executive of the company's local unit.

Mr Saggers also predicted more mergers and acquisitions in the insurance industry due to the ambitions of other multinational companies, adding: 'If they want to have presence in Asia, it must be in Hong Kong.'

Julia Wong Yuen-lee, senior vice-president, agency and retail distribution at Sun Life Hong Kong (formerly CMG Asia), noted that the Hong Kong market was too small to support so many insurance companies and consolidation was inevitable.

'Companies without scale are more challenged to survive,' she added.

Sun Life Financial, Canada's largest life insurer, took over CMG Asia and its sister firm CommServe Financial for $3.5 billion in July last year.

Mr Saggers said the integration was proceeding well. He said the market share of the combined company was 8 or 9 per cent in terms of premiums.

He said the company was looking to achieve 20 per cent growth in adjusted premium income to $611 million this year through a distribution network involving banks and brokers as well as its own agents.

Sun Life Financial is partnering with Citic Ka Wah Bank and China Construction Bank to sell its insurance products in Hong Kong and is talking to other potential partners.

The firm also plans to increase its number of agents by 250 to 1,950 by the end of this year, according to Ms Wong.