Mergers & Acquisitions

FTLife to leverage technology, expertise of mainland parent in fintech push

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 25 March, 2017, 2:15pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 25 March, 2017, 2:15pm

FTLife Insurance Company will leverage the technological and capital strengths of its mainland parent to help forge ahead in the development of innovative fintech solutions, according to regional chief executive Lennard Yong.

Yong was appointed to run FTLife in September, following a takeover by Beijing-based JD Group in May.

Yong is a veteran Hong Kong insurer who in the past two decades was head of several international insurance conglomerates, including ING and Metlife.

Yong believes the acquisition by JD Group would help the unit he oversees to improve its technology in the next three years.

“JD Group brings a strong financial services platform, expertise in investment and knowledge of the Chinese consumers which will propel FTLife Hong Kong for future growth,” said Yong.

Last year’s acquisition of FTLife from Belgian parent Ageas Asia, worth US$1.38 billion, ranked as the largest ever takeover by a mainland company of a Hong Kong insurer.

Yong told the South China Morning Post that he made a three year plan with the support of the new owner to develop fintech.

“Over the next three years, with the support of JD Group’s experiences in internet technology and mobile applications, our Hong Kong team will adapt these learnings into our insurance operations and build a more customer-friendly platform.”

Yong said 10 months after the takeover, business has been on a growing trend with new products.

“FTLife is moving fast and we are excited that with the support from our shareholders we are beginning to see the early signs of our growth journey. Our new business growth in 2016 was more than 50 per cent compared to the prior year,” he said.

“On the consumer side, we are beginning to enhance our products to meet customer needs in Hong Kong as well as mainland visitors to Hong Kong.”

Yong believes mainland companies will remain keen on acquiring Hong Kong insurers, extending a trend that’s been underway for several years.

“The Hong Kong life insurance industryfor new business grew at around 15 per cent compounded annually over the last 10 years. This is a recognition of the benefits of Hong Kong’s rule of law, human resource talent, advanced product development and consumer practices,” Yong said.

“Consequently we expect more Chinese enterprises to recognise this trend and that they will look to utilise Hong Kong as a platform for financial services growth.”