June 5, 2020 / 9:38 AM / a month ago

Allianz in talks for China insurance asset management licence

FRANKFURT/HONG KONG (Reuters) - Allianz (ALVG.DE) is in talks with Chinese regulators for a licence as the German insurer looks to eventually offer broad asset management services in the world’s second-largest economy.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of insurer Allianz SE is seen on the company building in Puteaux at the financial and business district of La Defense near Paris, outside Paris, France, May 14, 2018. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

Discussions for a licence to manage its own assets in China are at an early stage, Solmaz Altin, its chief executive in Asia, told Reuters, adding he hoped to launch the business in the first half of 2021.

Hong Kong’s status as a global financial hub faces some uncertainty with the United States moving to eliminate its special status after Beijing announced it would impose a new national security law there.

“It is simply too early to tell what the Hong Kong situation will mean for our existing business or any future business,” Altin said.

“We very much hope that reason will prevail and that we can continue to do business in Hong Kong in a very positive way internationally,” he said.

Altin said Allianz aimed to boost annual revenue growth in Asia by up to 20% through 2025.

“We are doubling down on Asia, and we will not stop because of the virus,” he said. “We are actually opening up new businesses (in Asia).”

Its revenue in Asia, where it has a presence in 14 countries, grew 104% in 2019.

Allianz CEO Oliver Baete has said fund management in China may hold more potential than the insurance business.

The insurer also plans to enter the Vietnam property and casualty market next year, perhaps with a minority equity partner, and is in talks with the regulator, Altin said.

Globally, Allianz oversees assets of more than 2 trillion euros for itself and third parties under the PIMCO and Allianz Global Investors brands.

In China, state-owned China Life (601628.SS) manages Allianz assets including life and non-life insurance joint ventures.

Allianz CEO Oliver Baete has said fund management in China may hold more potential than the insurance business.

Reporting by Tom Sims in Frankfurt, Sumeet Chatterjee in Hong Kong and Alexander Huebner in Munich; editing by Jason Neely

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