Hong Kong billionaire Richard Li's FWD Group is laying the groundwork for a potential initial public offering after five years of building the business through acquisitions, people familiar with the matter said.
FWD, which is backed by Swiss Re, has held preliminary discussions with investment banks about a possible IPO as part of regular meetings about the insurer’s strategy, reports Bloomberg citing the sources. The company is weighing a listing as soon as the next couple of years, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.
Hong Kong is under consideration as a possible listing venue, one of the people said.
FWD, which manages more than $26.6 billion of assets, had over 2.7 million customers spread across eight Asian markets at the end of last year, according to its website. Mr Li formed the company after spending $2.1 billion to buy ING Groep’s insurance and pension units in Hong Kong, Macau and Thailand in 2013.
FWD bought American International Group’s Japanese life insurance unit last year, after earlier making acquisitions to expand in Singapore and Vietnam.
The company’s minority shareholders include Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC Pte and RRJ Capital, the private equity firm run by former Goldman Sachs Group partner Richard Ong and his brother Charles, its website shows.