Friends Life to launch asset manager


Friends Life is to make a return to the asset management space in the second half of next year with the launch of Friends Life Investments.

The life insurer is set to seed the new asset management arm – to be run by chief investment officer Mark Versey – with £8 billion of recaptured assets, focusing initially on fixed income.

The business will use an outsourced model with the investment operations to be managed by a third-party administrator.

Andy Briggs (pictured), chief executive of Friends Life, says: “The launch of Friends Life Investments marks a significant development for our business.

He adds: “The intention is for this new company to build on existing expertise across our business and is further evidence of our strategic focus in the UK.”

The asset management subsidiary will initially focus on fixed income assets “in respect of annuity liabilities, shareholder assets and assets backing other non-profit liabilities”.

According to Friends Life, further investment classes will be considered as the business grows.

Its existing Friends Life asset and liability management team will continue to have oversight and control over non unit-linked asset management suppliers. This will include governance of suppliers, investment policy, strategic asset allocation and management of exposure to financial risk from the asset portfolio.