Leading pan-Asian life insurance group, AIA Group, has dismissed speculation that the company is in talks to reduce its stake in its operation in Malaysia.
“There is no conversation. That’s all I can say. Obviously, we are very careful with any confidential conversation, not only in Malaysia but others as well. But in this case (on AIA Malaysia), there is no conversation. Anywhere we operate in, we want to own as much as we can,” AIA Group CEO and President Ng Keng Hooi told StarBiz. AIA Group has a 100% stake in AIA Malaysia.
In June, Bank Negara was reported to have sent letters requesting foreign insurers with wholly-owned operations in the country to cap their foreign requirement ownership to 70% by June next year in a bid to increase local participation in the sector.
Apart from AIA, Japan’s Tokio Marine Holdings and two of the largest insurance companies in Malaysia – AIA Group and Great Eastern Holdings – are among the foreign companies that have wholly-owned general insurance and life insurance operations locally.
Various reports have indicated that potential buyers of stakes from foreign insurers would be local institutional funds such as the Employees Provident Fund, Retirement Fund (KWAP) and the giant fund management company Permodalan Nasional.