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November 29, 2011updated 04 Apr 2017 3:45pm

AXA may sell British wealth management business

French insurer Axa may sell-off its London-based wealth management arm, Bluefin Advisory Services (BAS), as a part of its strategy to focus more on emerging markets. Bluefin's insurance broking business, which the French firm considers is fundamental part of its UK's strategy, is not part of the sale.

By BBR Staff

The move is part of the French firm’s strategy to cut its costs and debt in the aftermath of the financial crisis and ahead of stricter capital-adequacy requirements.

The move also follows Axa’s sale of parts of its UK life business to Resolution for GBP2.75 billion in June 2010. However, Axa retained high-margin, low-capital-intensive businesses such as health-care insurance and wealth management.

BAS employs more than 2,000 people in 60 UK offices. It specializes in financial advisory and insurance broking and is headed by chief executive Stuart Reid.

Axa has recruited Fenchurch Advisory Partners to run the sale.

"Working closely with the senior management team in BAS, Fenchurch will consider both the prospects for the continued growth of the business under its existing ownership structure as well as assessing and testing whether Bluefin Advisory Services, its clients and staff would be better positioned under new ownership," AXA said in a statement.

According to a report published in The Telegraph, the French insurer has received interest from potential private equity buyer JLT and insurance brokers Marsh and Aon.

The sale, which is expected to fetch in excess of GBP100 million, will considerably ease the financial woes of the cash-strapped French firm which, late last year, set a target of saving EUR1.5 billion by 2015 from its life and non-life operations.

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