FWD to enter Malaysian life insurance market with strategic investment in Gibraltar BSN
FWD Group Holdings Limited ("FWD Group") will enter the Malaysian life insurance market following the signing of an agreement to invest in a majority stake in Gibraltar BSN Life Berhad ("Gibraltar BSN"). The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2023.
FWD Group, and other investors, will together hold an effective 70% stake in Gibraltar BSN, which was sold by The Prudential Insurance Company of America, the wholly owned subsidiary of US-based NYSE-listed Prudential Financial, Inc. (NYSE: PRU) ("PFI"). Bank Simpanan Nasional ("BSN") will continue to hold the remaining 30% stake ownership in Gibraltar BSN. Post-completion, FWD Group will partner with BSN to further develop and grow Gibraltar BSN.
Huynh Thanh Phong, Group Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of FWD Group, said, "We're creating a full-service offering in Malaysia and will be able to offer both family takaful and life insurance solutions in a rapidly growing market with huge long-term potential for growth. We're excited to bring our digitally-enabled products and services to more people in Malaysia. With these strategic developments, we also substantially complete our footprint across key Southeast Asia markets in the 10th anniversary year for FWD Group. Changing the way people feel about takaful and insurance remains the vision that guides our work."
Malaysia is the fourth largest life insurance market by premium in Southeast Asia, with highly attractive macroeconomic fundamentals and favourable demographics. FWD Group entered the Malaysian market in March 2019 as a provider of family takaful products, including term life, critical illness, cancer, hospital cash benefit and medical protection.
Binayak Dutta, FWD Group Managing Director, Emerging Markets and Group Chief Distribution Officer, said, "Our partnership with BSN underscores our commitment to the Malaysian market and we look forward to playing our part in the growth and development of Malaysia's takaful and insurance sectors. Since establishment, our business in Malaysia has gone from strength to strength. We grew gross written contributions by 173% in our first full year of operation, established our regional technology and innovation hub in Kuala Lumpur and partnered with a leading social enterprise in Malaysia to develop Fun(d) for Life, a financial literacy programme supporting over 4,200 individuals."
Existing customers and distribution channels of Gibraltar BSN will not be affected by this investment and all existing policies will continue to be honoured. Customers can also continue to access the company's products and services using their preferred service channels. Additionally, existing customers and distribution channels of FWD Takaful will not be affected. FWD Group plans to rebrand the Gibraltar BSN business at a later date.
 NMG; Swiss Re
 Malaysia gross written contributions (GWC) grew by approximately 173% from 2020 to 2021. This is in comparison to the industry GWP in Malaysia, which grew by approximately 9% over the same period, according to NMG.
 As of 30 Sept 2022