Chief financial officer, and soon-to-be CEO, Tidjane Thiam would not specifically comment on the speculation but said, in a conference call this morning, that the UK business provided the group with important cash and capital.
He said: “Regarding the UK, our results are very strong with margins increasing from 29 to 32 per cent. We have a strategy which is focused and has delivered very, very well and we are very comfortable with where we are.
“The UK provides us with two absolutely crucial things, cash – we have got about £290m, which is a significant sum in this economy, from the UK – and capital – the group’s rating relies very heavily on the strength of the UK balance sheet.
“As such, it is a core business for us and we are quite happy with its performance.”
On the expected consolidation in the life sector, outgoing CEO Mark Tucker added: “We will continue to watch with interest but, as Tidjane said, our focus is on Asia, on the US and on supporting a very strong business in the UK.”
Tucker, who steps down at the end of September, would not give any details of his next move although he has taken a role as non-executive director at the Bank of England, alongside FSA chairman Lord Adair Turner, which began in June.