Old Mutual boss: More businesses like ours will break up

Old Mutual chief executive Bruce Hemphill has predicted that more financial services firms will look to follow his firm’s lead and separate their businesses.

In an interview with the Times, Hemphill says that the regulatory environment since the financial crisis means that those with a global footprint will look to focus in on different geographies.

He says: “Old Mutual is not the only global financial services business thinking about restructuring. I suspect we will see more.

“[After the crisis] the regulatory environment changed fundamentally. Building a global financial services business has become much more difficult.”

Hemphill says this will be the case across a range of businesses, with some already moving in that direction, like Prudential, as it hives British business off from American and Asian work, and banks like Barclays where investment bank margins are coming under pressure and drawing scrutiny from activist shareholders.

Old Mutual is currently splitting out its wealth business, which includes advice network Intrinsic and the Old Mutual Wealth platform, so it can list separately, and has sold its US asset management arm out from its South African parent company.

Hemphill notes there “has been an enormous amount of change in the underlying businesses, change of boards, management teams” adding that adapting strategies to changing circumstances “has not always been well received”.

Hemphill tells the Times that while Brexit is “inconvenient and confusing” he is likely to position himself in London from here on.

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