Swiss Life sets up office here, targets wealthy

Swiss Life sets up office here, targets wealthy

 

By SIOW LI SEN

 

SWISS Life will open an office here next month to sell its life insurance products aimed at the wealthy.

 

The Singapore office of Switzerland‘s market leader for pension and life insurance products is not just its first in Asia, but also outside Europe.

 

The branch office, Swiss Life (Liechtenstein), is part of the group’s international strategy to tap into burgeoning Asian markets.

 

‘We see the potential for Asia, and Singapore is a great hub to tap into this Asian market,’ said company spokeswoman Irene Fischbach.

 

Swiss Life’s main markets are Switzerland, Germany and France.

 

The product to be sold in Asia is structured for international high net worth individuals and called private placement life insurance. Created since 2004, it is sold through the group’s Luxembourg and Liechtenstein offices, said Ms Fischbach.

 

‘It’s a structured life insurance product that combines individual asset management with retirement planning,’ she said.

 

Clients must have a minimum of 200,000 Swiss francs (S$270,059).

 

Private placement life insurance is currently sold to customers in Sweden, Italy and the US. It has attracted assets under management of nine billion Swiss francs.

 

The Singapore office will be headed by Thomas Vonrueti, who will lead a team of seven.

 

Swiss Life cooperates with leading private banks and independent asset managers to sell its products.

 

Swiss Life Group’s chief executive, international, Bruno Pfister said: ‘The Asian market offers great growth potential in this attractive segment. In Singapore we are ideally positioned to expand into further markets in the region. The new location represents an important addition, enabling us to serve our customers from three competency centres in the future.’

 

According to Forbes magazine’s 2008 billionaires report, the number of Asian billionaires increased a third to 211 with a total net worth of US$804 billion, up from US$554 billion.

 

The number of millionaires in Singapore shot up 11,000 people or 21.2 per cent last year – the fastest growth rate in the Asia-Pacific and one of the fastest in the world, said a 2007 Merrill Lynch-Capgemini report.

 

Source: Business Times

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