Insurer eyes Singapore’s wealthy in expansion plans

Published: 4:02 AM, August 31, 2013
Updated: 4:00 AM, September 2, 2013

SINGAPORE — Singapore is to feature prominently in the regional expansion plans of Friends Provident International (FPI), as the insurance company looks to tap the growing number of increasingly wealthy customers in the Republic.

Along with Hong Kong, Singapore is one of the two Asian financial hubs where FPI is based. Since its establishment here in 2007, the company has been enjoying strong growth, Managing Director James Tan told TODAY.

“With Asia’s strong economic fundamentals as well as the bulk of wealth coming into the region, we’ve been growing quite rapidly in Hong Kong and Singapore,” Mr Tan said, adding that the business in Singapore has grown by threefold since 2007.

As part of the United Kingdom’s Friends Life Group, FPI focuses on investment-linked insurance solutions that offer its customers participation in a wide selection of multi-currency managed funds across various investment asset classes and investment themes.

The range and flexibility of its products is also FPI’s key differentiator in addressing evolving customer needs amid the highly competitive financial market here, Mr Tan said.

“For instance, in our target market — which is emerging affluent and affluent individuals — we are seeing a demand for more currency options to minimise exposure to risks in a globalised world,” he said.

“But that’s also our competitive edge. FPI has a global portfolio with an open architecture, and in the current volatile market, the breadth of our products and funds differentiates us from some of our peers, giving our customers flexibility in investments,” he added.

Building on these strengths and expertise, Mr Tan is drawing up plans to expand FPI’s presence both in Hong Kong and Singapore. Its Singapore team currently comprises 25 people.

“We are bringing in some of the functions and expertise that are based out in the UK into Singapore, so that we can better serve our clients,” Mr Tan said.

“Specifically, we will strengthen our customer service and back-end processing — that will allow us to give immediate response to our customers.”

Wong Wei Han