New York Life Insurance Worldwide expects its Hong Kong business to diversify further this year, driven by demand for investment-linked products, according to company executives. Steve Miles, senior vice-president and chief financial officer, estimated that 25 per cent of the firm's income would come from investment-linked products this year, up from 18 per cent last year. The company's core business of life insurance, which contributed 82 per cent of its US$126.5 million revenue last year, would make up 75 per cent of this year's turnover, he added. New York Life achieved 230 per cent growth in profit to US$8.3 million last year, beating a US$7.2 million forecast. Mr Miles attributed the jump to good investment returns and fewer life insurance claims. The firm also had tightened its operating expenses, including staff costs, he added. However, he predicted profit growth this year would be between 5 per cent and 10 per cent as the company would boost its headcount and invest more in marketing and promotion. Asked whether the firm, which had 1 per cent of Hong Kong's life insurance market, would seek a listing in the city, president and chief executive Jeff Walker said: 'We have no plans for that.' Mr Walker, who believes there will be a consolidation in the sector, said: 'If the right acquisition opportunity were to develop, yes, we would pursue that.' New York Life plans to increase the number of its agents to 1,200 by the end of this year from 945, although insurance companies usually hire independent financial advisers who earn fixed salaries. However, commissions will not be increased significantly to attract newcomers, according to senior vice-president and chief marketing officer Anthony Mak. Mr Walker stressed that the agency force was vital for New York Life's business model. 'A professional full-time sales force is key to providing our customers with the best advice for their financial well-being.'