The Reserve Bank pf New Zealand (RBNZ) has approved the proposed sale of AMP Life to Resolution Life, in a revised arrangement that is subject to a number of conditions imposed to protect policyholders.
The RBNZ has been reviewing the proposed transaction and consulting with the parties involved over the past 18 months to ensure the deal would meet its requirements, the central bank’s deputy governor and general manager for financial stability, Mr Geoff Bascand said in a statement.

The deal, worth A$3bn ($2.1bn), involves a change of control and ownership of AMP Life from AMP Ltd to Resolution Life which is a specialist life insurance business owner.

AMP insurance policy holders’ relationship in New Zealand is with AMP Life and, while that company will have a new owner, existing policy entitlements are unaffected by this transaction.

“Because AMP Life is a branch of an Australian business and intended to be in ‘run-off’ and not write new business, special arrangements were needed for the security of New Zealand policyholders.”

Arrangements

“A bespoke trust model has been established that ensures supervisory objectives are better met, future industry dynamics are generally more positive, and there is additional protection in the event of insolvency ?—one of the key risk considerations that we have been seeking to mitigate,” Mr Bascand said.

The Trust is required to hold capital and assets in New Zealand that help provide long-term security for policyholder benefits or investments, where relevant. The Trust will be under the management and scrutiny of relevant officers in New Zealand, who have appropriate influence and authority in respect of the New Zealand operations, for the purpose of securing equity across all policyholders.

In addition, the model will see the establishment of a new, locally incorporated insurer Resolution Life New Zealand (RLNZ). The RLNZ board will have a majority of New Zealand resident, independent directors. RLNZ will act as Trustee to the Trust and will effectively manage the assets held in the Trust.

AMP Life has also established a New Zealand Policyholder Advisory Committee. The Committee is a sub-committee of the AMP Life board, and will include RLNZ’s independent directors. Its purpose is to provide advice to the AMP Life board on matters relating to the interests of New Zealand policyholders.

Approvals required to support the model have been granted by the Reserve Bank.

In making its decision, the Reserve Bank sought and considered advice from an independent actuary, and liaised with the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority.

AMP Ltd expects the transaction to complete on 30 June 2020.

Prior to receiving the RBNZ approval on 23 June, AMP Ltd had already secured the green light from Australian and Chinese regulators.

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