East West Bank’s Php500 Million Investment in Ageas Insurance JV Gets BSP Approval

PHILIPPINES – The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the country’s central bank, has approved the initial equity investment of East West Banking Corporation (PSE:EW) in the proposed joint venture with Ageas Insurance International.

In disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange before the market opened today, East West Banking Corporation (PSE:EW) said the BSP has approved its initial equity investment amounting to Php500 million in the proposed JV.

The joint venture, however, still needs approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Insurance Commission.

East West Banking Corporation and Ageas Insurance International earlier signed a JV agreement to establish a new life insurance company to be called “EastWest Ageas Life”.

The JV will be a start-up company in which EW Bank and Ageas will both have an equal shareholding of 50%. It was further agreed that EW Bank and EastWest Ageas Life will enter into a 20-year exclusive distribution agreement.

The aim is to build the premier Bancassurance business in the Philippines offering tailor-made insurance solutions to the customers of EW Bank supported by high quality service and state-of-art technology.

The insurance business will benefit from EW Bank’s fast growing customer base. With more than 400 branch stores, the bank has the 7th largest distribution network amongst banks in the Philippines, the bank said in a statement.

Ageas will contribute its proven Bancassurance skills and best practices from its successful businesses in Asia and Europe.

“We have always viewed Bancassurance as an integral part of our business model. We see it as a necessary ingredient to have complete product offerings for the financial services needs of our target market segments. Specifically, the consumer and middle market corporate segments. We are pleased to partner with Ageas, one of the major insurance providers in the world,” said Tony C. Moncupa Jr., President and CEO of EW Bank, during the signing of the agreement earlier.

“The potential is huge given that the current Life insurance penetration rate of around 1.5% is one of the lowest in Asia. We are very pleased to be a partner to EW Bank which has a strong management and clear ambition to grow. We are convinced that together we can deliver another successful partnership in Asia,” Gary Crist, CEO of Ageas Asia was quoted as saying. – BusinessNewsAsia.com

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