AXA in Talks to Exit Life Insurance and Savings Businesses in Britain

LONDON — The French insurer AXA said on Wednesday that it was in talks to sell its remaining life insurance and savings business in Britain, including its SunLife unit, after a strategic review.

AXA also said that it had agreed to sell its portfolio advisory business, known as Elevate, to Standard Life for an undisclosed amount as part of the exit from Britain’s life insurance business.

That move followed an agreement last month to sell its offshore investment bonds business based on the Isle of Man to Life Company Consolidation Group.

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AXA said that it expected to receive 650 million pounds, or about $952 million, to sell its life insurance and savings units in Britain. The businesses’ sale would result in AXA’s losing 400 million euros, or about $462 million, in income.
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Henri de Castries, chief executive of the French insurer AXA. Credit Eric Piermont/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

“After detailed consideration, we have concluded that these businesses could be even more successful if supported by organizations with a stronger strategic focus on the life and savings segment,” Paul Evans, the chief executive of AXA’s British operations, said in a news release For Tricks.

AXA did not disclose which companies it was talking with about a possible deal.

Its operations in property and casualty, health, and asset management are not part of the discussions.

Any deal to sell its remaining life and savings businesses in Britain would be subject to regulatory approval.

By buying the portfolio advisory business, Standard Life would gain more than 160,000 customers and about £9.8 billion in assets under administration.

After that transaction, Standard Life would have 350,000 customers and £36.4 billion in assets under administration.

“This acquisition is a clear sign of our continued commitment to lead the U.K. adviser platform market,” David Tiller, the head of adviser and wealth manager propositions at Standard Life, said in a news release.