Resolution acquires Axa Life to integrate with Friends Provident

Resolution has acquired the majority of Axa’s UK life assurance business (comprising protection, corporate benefits, group pensions and annuities) in a deal worth approximately £2.75bn.

Axa’s operations will be integrated into the Friends Provident business acquired by Resolution in November 2009. Axa’s wealth business, Axa Insurance, Axa PPP Healthcare and Bluefin will be unaffected by the deal.

Upon the integration of the two businesses, Friends Provident will be renamed Friends Life, which is expected to take place in early 2011.

As part of the acquisition, around 2,200 Axa employees will transfer across to Friends Provident Holdings.

The business will be led by current Friends Provident chief executive (CEO) Trevor Matthews, while David Hynam, current group chief operating officer at Axa UK will join as executive director operations. In addition, Paul McMahon and Graham Harvey will join from Axa UK as managing director of corporate and managing director of individual respectively.

Matthews said: “Today’s landmark deal combines two major players in the UK life and pensions market, both of which have a rich heritage. There is a good operational fit between both organisations.

“Bringing them together will make us one of the market leaders in our core businesses of protection and corporate pensions in the UK. This combined group will have a substantial offering in protection and corporate pensions products, and a real opportunity to deliver cost efficiencies allowing us to compete more effectively.”

Paul Evans, CEO of Axa Life, added: “This deal builds on Axa UK’s transformation by accelerating the focus and growth of its wealth and associated businesses.

“Axa has for some time recognised the traditional life industry model needs to evolve to respond to adviser and consumer needs and regulatory changes. Over the past three years, Axa’s new model wealth business has been built by Axa Wealth CEO, Mike Kellard, with these factors in mind.

“Our priorities are to rapidly grow the asset base of our wrap platform Elevate and our multi-manager, Architas, as well as our specialist pensions business Axa Winterthur. We have a multi-channel route to market which places us in a strong position to manage the many changes that are taking place in our marketplace.”

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