Singapore Life Pte. Ltd. (Singlife), a homegrown insurer, offering mobile savings and protection solutions, today announced it has entered into a transaction with a view to combine with Aviva Singapore. Valuing the combined Singlife and Aviva Singapore entities at S$3.2 billion, the deal marks one of the largest in the insurance sector in Southeast Asia and the largest in Singapore.
Besides its insurance business, Aviva Singapore also owns a unit trust platform, Navigator, as well as two of the largest financial advisory firms in Singapore, Aviva Financial Advisers (AFA) and Professional Investment Advisory Services (PIAS).
Combining the best of Singlife’s digital capabilities with Aviva Singapore’s product history and trusted advisory services, the merger aims to raise the bar in how customers can interact with insurers – by combining superior financial products, professional financial advice and mobile-first customer engagement. The deal intends to bring Singlife’s mobile-first savings and protection solutions to Aviva’s 1.5 million strong customer base, while being able to offer existing Singlife customers a significantly deeper product range and advisory capabilities.
Subject to regulatory approval, current Singlife Chairman Ray Ferguson will continue as the Chairman of the new group. Singlife Group CEO Walter de Oude will be appointed as Deputy Chairman, while current Aviva Singapore CEO Nishit Majmudar will be appointed CEO of the combined entity’s Singapore licensed insurance business.
The new combined business will initially be named Aviva Singlife. Aviva plc will retain a 25% equity shareholding in this new, combined business. Singlife’s existing shareholder, Sumitomo Life Insurance Company will hold 20% of the group equity, while Aflac Ventures LLC, Aberdeen Asset Management PLC, IPGL Limited and minorities will collectively hold 20% of the group equity. TPG, a global alternative asset firm, will hold 35% of the group equity. TPG has been investing in a range of industries such as financial services, healthcare, retail, media and technology. In the financial services space, companies TPG has invested in include Korea First Bank, Shenzhen Development Bank, PT BFI Finance, BTPN, American Beacon, Du Xiaoman Financial, CD Finance, Ariel Re, ProSight, and Warranty Group.
Walter de Oude, Group CEO and Founder, Singlife said, “We are building something truly inspirational harnessing the best of financial services for the benefit of Singaporeans and the region.”
Ray Ferguson, Singlife Chairman said, “Singlife was created with the ambition to reshape finance and help unlock the potential of money for everyone. COVID-19 and changing consumer demands have changed the way people think about financial services, and more than ever before want to engage in a mobile-first way for their ordinary savings and protection needs, and still get the financial advice they need, when they need it. By joining forces with Aviva Singapore, we are creating a homegrown regional brand that will go far beyond insurance and deliver on these ambitions by creating innovative financial products with intuitive technology and independent advice.”
Nishit Majmudar, CEO of Aviva Singapore and Chairman of Navigator, AFA and PIAS said, “Aviva Singapore has always focused on delivering great customer outcomes. This is reflected in our positive results as we are in our fourth consecutive year of double-digit growth. Joining forces with Singlife, who is known for their mobile-first approach, will further enhance what we deliver – a comprehensive set of solutions with a superior customer experience.”
The combined post-merger business will initially trade using both the Singlife and Aviva brands as Aviva Singlife demonstrating the combination of the two businesses.
The transaction is subject to closing conditions, including regulatory approval, and is expected to complete by January 2021. Thereafter, the Singlife and Aviva Singapore legal entities will merge subject to approval by the Singapore courts targeting 1H 2021. Singlife and Aviva Singapore will continue to operate independently until the merger is complete.
Singlife is the first independent homegrown company to be fully licensed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) since 1970 as a life insurance company. The partnership marks Singlife’s most significant milestone to-date, following its acquisition of Zurich Life Singapore in 2018. The company is backed by Sumitomo Life Insurance Company, Aberdeen Standard Investments, Aflac Incorporated, and IPGL, joining the ranks of other regional tech companies as one of the top-funded homegrown fintech companies in Singapore. Singlife manages almost S$7.0 billion in life insurance coverage.
In March 2020, Singlife launched Singapore’s first mobile insurance-savings plan, the Singlife Account, with an accompanying Visa Debit Card. The Singlife Account hit 100,000 downloads within the first three months of launch, with customers entrusting almost S$500 million through the product to date, signifying a collective demand for better ways to manage, grow, and protect money. As part of the firm’s regional expansion, Singlife received its licence and began operations in the Philippines in February 2020.
Aviva Singapore currently insures about 1.5 million customers and manages S$11.8 billion of assets. They are an approved provider to offer Integrated Shield Plans and ElderShield Supplements, which are top-ups to the national MediShield Life and ElderShield schemes. Aviva Singapore is also the appointed insurer for the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Home Affairs and the Public Officers Group Insurance Scheme.
Apart from insurance and savings solutions, their offering also includes unit trust platform brands, Navigator and dollarDEX. They also own Aviva Financial Advisers and Professional Investment Advisory Services (PIAS), two of the largest financial advisory firms in Singapore. Navigator, dollarDEX and these two financial advisory firms are included in this transaction.