Swiss financial sector plans big cost cuts-study - Reuters UK Swiss financial sector plans big cost cuts-study - Reuters UK

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Swiss financial sector plans big cost cuts-study - Reuters UK

Swiss financial sector plans big cost cuts-study - Reuters UK

Thu May 31, 2012 10:41am BST

* Half of firms want to cut costs 5-10 pct

* 40 percent aiming for cuts of 10-20 pct

* Private banking particularly hard hit by asset loss

ZURICH, May 31 (Reuters) - The Swiss financial industry - particularly private banking - is planning radical restructuring to improve cost efficiency, a survey showed on Thursday.

Audit and advisory firm Ernst & Young said half of the financial institutions it surveyed wanted to cut costs by 5-10 percent, while 40 percent of firms were aiming for cuts of 10-20 percent and 4 percent were hoping to slash more than 20 percent.

The survey was carried out by an online questionnaire in February at 23 large banks and 10 insurance companies.

"These figures are a clear signal that we are on the brink of further transformation in the financial sector," Bernhard Boettinger of Ernst & Young said in a statement.

"A temporary economic recovery would not be enough to stop this process. The industry is undergoing radical change."

Ernst & Young said insurance companies cited fiercer competition for new customers and growing price pressure as the main drivers for restructuring, while banks pointed to the cost of new regulations and more rapid client turnover.

It said private banks were particularly hard hit as clients withdraw their assets or turn to products with lower returns.

The Swiss banking industry is seeing a big outflow of European assets after the country came under international pressure to clamp down on foreign tax evaders who have stashed their wealth in secret Swiss accounts.

The Swiss parliament gave the green light on Wednesday for pacts with Germany, Britain and Austria aimed at taxing their citizens' undeclared assets. (Reporting by Emma Thomasson; editing by Keiron Henderson)

PVI Holdings (PVI) and Sun Life Financial sign an agreement to form a life insurance joint venture - Yahoo Finance

PVI Sun Life will deliver world-class life insurance products to customers across Vietnam

TORONTO, Ontario, and Hanoi, Vietnam, May 31, 2012 /PRNewswire/ - PVI Holdings (HNX:PVI) and Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sun Life Financial Inc. (SLF.TO) (SLF), signed an agreement today to form a joint venture life insurance company, PVI Sun Life Insurance Company Limited (PVI Sun Life). The new company is in line with PVI's development strategy, and further expands Sun Life Financial's footprint in Asia.

PVI Sun Life will deliver a suite of innovative life insurance products to customers in Vietnam through multiple sales channels. The company aims to become a market leader in the sector.

The joint venture agreement was signed by Mr. Nguyen Anh Tuan, Chairman of PVI Holdings, Mr. Bui Van Thuan, Member of the Board of Directors and CEO of PVI Holdings, and on behalf of Sun Life Financial, Mr. Dean Connor, President and CEO, and Mr. Kevin Strain, President, SLF Asia, in Hanoi, Vietnam. The event was attended by Mr. Nguyen Xuan Phuc, member of the Politburo and Deputy Prime Minister, representatives of Ministries, Agencies and Offices of the Government of Vietnam, Petrovietnam, and by Deborah Chatsis, the Canadian Ambassador to Vietnam.

"PVI Sun Life completes PVI Holdings' insurance business network, and delivers on our long term strategy. We are very excited about partnering with Sun Life, an internationally renowned life insurer, to deliver greater choice in life insurance to the people of Vietnam," said Mr. Nguyen Anh Tuan, Chairman of PVI Holdings. "Vietnam's life insurance market has great potential and through PVI Sun Life we will be able to provide new products that are unique in the Vietnamese marketplace," he added.

PVI will own 51% of PVI Sun Life, and Sun Life Financial the remaining 49%. PVI brings to the partnership its excellent reputation and brand in Vietnam as well as a strong customer base, extensive infrastructure and quality people. Sun Life Financial brings with it 150 years of experience and know-how in the life insurance space, including experience in the Asian market that dates back to 1892. Sun Life Financial will contribute its global life insurance expertise, particularly in the areas of actuarial, risk management and distribution management to the joint venture.

"When we look at Vietnam and our partnership with PVI Holdings, we see a great opportunity to offer our nearly 150 years of expertise to provide valued peace of mind to the people of Vietnam," said Dean Connor, President and CEO, Sun Life Financial. "We are also delighted to add Vietnam to our growing footprint in Asia, which we see as a meaningful contributor to Sun Life's future growth and success. With PVI, we feel confident that we have the right partner to become a market leader in Vietnam."

"We are thrilled about our new partnership with PVI in Vietnam," said Kevin Strain, President, Sun Life Financial Asia. "We are pleased to be partnering with such a well-respected organization as PVI. We believe this partnership will be of tremendous mutual benefit to our companies and, more importantly, will broaden the availability of much-needed financial products and services to the people of Vietnam."

Vietnam's life insurance market is poised for growth, providing an excellent opportunity for PVI Sun Life. While the country has been one of the fastest growing economies in Asia in recent years, only five per cent of the population currently has life insurance coverage.

The joint venture is subject to regulatory approval in both Canada and Vietnam and is expected to commence operations before the end of 2012.

About PVI Holdings (PVI)

PVI is one of the major Vietnamese Investment-Insurance groups, with subsidiaries focused on various business lines including general insurance, reinsurance, life insurance and other financial services. In 2011, PVI generated gross premium of US$202 million; total revenue growth was 25% year-on-year, equivalent to 116% of target. PVI currently enjoys a 21.3% market share of the non-life insurance market, making it the leading non-life insurer in Vietnam. For details please visit

About Sun Life Financial

Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sun Life Financial Inc. and is a member of the Sun Life Financial group of companies.

Sun Life Financial is a leading international financial services organization providing a diverse range of protection and wealth accumulation products and services to individual and corporate customers. Chartered in 1865, Sun Life Financial and its partners today have operations in key markets worldwide, including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia, India, China and Bermuda. As of March 31, 2012, the Sun Life Financial group of companies had total assets under management of C$494 billion. Sun Life Financial Inc. trades on the Toronto (TSX), New York (NYSE) and Philippine (PSE) stock exchanges under the ticker symbol SLF. For more information please visit

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