UPDATE 2-NY regulator targets buyout firms' focus on annuities -sources

Tue Jul 16, 2013 4:30pm EDT
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* Lawsky focusing on Sun Life, Aviva transactions -sources

* Concern over private equity firms' oversight

By Karen Freifeld

July 16 (Reuters) - New York's top financial regulator is examining whether to let two insurers with links to investment firms buy annuity businesses, perhaps imposing requirements to cut potential risks to policyholders, people familiar with the matter said.

The requirements could reduce the attractiveness of such deals for buyout firms.

One review by the New York state Department of Financial Services focuses on a proposed $1.35 billion purchase by Guggenheim Partners' Delaware Life Holdings LLC affiliate of Canada's Sun Life Financial Inc's U.S. annuity business, the people said on Tuesday.

The other centers on a $1.55 billion purchase by Athene Holdings Ltd, which is funded by an affiliate of Apollo Global Management LLC of the U.S. annuity business of Britain's Aviva Plc, the people said.

Before granting approval for the Aviva purchase, the regulator is discussing having Apollo meet several requirements to protect policyholders, including higher capital standards than for traditional insurers, greater disclosure and greater clarity on who oversees the corporate structure, one of the people said.

"We understand the New York regulator's concerns and we remain committed to working to address these issues," Athene, said in a statement. Athene's majority owner is AP Alternative Assets.   Continued...