Sources say Citigroup Inc intends to give two insurers rights to distribute products in Asia

By Nicel Jane Avellana

Dec 03, 2013 05:06 AM EST

Sources told Bloomberg that Citigroup Inc is planning to give at least two insurance companies rights to distribute its products in its Asian outlets after it received final offers from five insurers. They said that the bank will most likely choose more than one partner after receiving bids to sell its products in only a part of its Asian retail banking network. The New York-based bank had originally intended to choose only one insurance firm for its 14 Asian markets. The sources said Citigroup aims to choose its partners by the end of March.  

MetLife Inc, Richard Li's FWD Group, Prudential Plc, AIA Group Ltd and Manulife Financial Corp submitted their final bids, according to the people. They spoke on the condition of anonymity since the talks were confidential.

Agreements like the one that Citigroup seeks to enter with the insurers are known as bancassurance deals. According to Investopedia, bancassurance deals are arrangements wherein a partnership is formed between the bank and an insurance firm, allowing the insurer to sell its products to the bank's client base. Both firms can profit from the arrangement.

In the case of Citigroup, one source told Bloomberg that it is set to get exclusivity payments amounting to USD 1.5 billion from its chosen insurance firms.

According to the report, Citigroup has nearly 600 branches with over 34 million retail accounts in Asia. The company will be replacing its current open model comprised of around 150 separate agreements by selling exclusive distribution rights to as few as two partners.

One source said up to USD 20 billion in revenues is set to be generated from the bancassurance deal. The revenues include fees paid upfront as well as commissions. The 15-year agreement will also provide the chosen insurers with one of the last regional banking platforms that will enable them to market their products.

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