Ipac to close HK, Singapore offices

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 10 January, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 10 January, 2012, 12:00am


Ipac Wealth Management Asia, a financial planning unit of French insurer AXA, will close its Hong Kong and Singapore offices in the first half because of the 'difficult economic climate over recent years'.

In a letter to its customers, Ipac chief executive Gary Harvey said AXA had reviewed its strategy in Asia and made the decision.

'In light of its ambition to grow material insurance businesses in the region, combined with the difficult economic climate over recent years, I regret to tell you that the Ipac businesses in Hong Kong and Singapore will be closed,' Harvey said.

The two offices, which were set up in 2003, have 100 employees. Its Hong Kong office has three licences from the Securities and Futures Commission.

Harvey said the closures within the next six months would not affect clients, since Ipac did not invest directly for them but earned fees by selling the policies or investment products of other companies.

The company will no longer charge the clients of the two offices advisory fees from January 1.

Ipac Australia, which was transferred to AMP last year, will continue to operate, as will Ipac Taiwan.

AXA said the closures were because it wanted to focus on the insurance business after a series of restructuring deals with AXA Asia Pacific last year.

'AXA concluded that the divestiture of these fee-based financial planning businesses would be consistent with its ambition to focus on continuing the strong growth of its insurance businesses in Asia,' it said, adding the closures would not hurt its Asia revenues or profit.

Chan Kin-por, the legislator for the insurance sector, said the closures reflected the keen competition in the financial advisory sector.