Phoenix Group on the hunt for next takeover deal

Phoenix Group on the hunt for next takeover deal amid speculation of more breakups in the insurance sector

Phoenix Group chief exec Andy Briggs (pictured)

Phoenix Group chief exec Andy Briggs (pictured)

Phoenix Group’s boss said the business is ‘ready to look’ for its next takeover deal with speculation rife of more break-ups in the industry.

Andy Briggs, chief executive of the FTSE 100 insurance and retirement giant, estimated the UK market has around £480billion of so-called ‘closed book’ assets ‘split around a number of different players.’ 

Closed books are insurance policies that are no longer being sold but still have existing customers paying premiums.

Phoenix specialises in these types of assets but other insurers have recently been looking to break off their closed books as while the assets generate lots of cash they become more expensive to maintain over time, a problem that has been compounded by rising inflation.

When asked if this trend presented opportunities for Phoenix to pursue acquisitions, Briggs said ‘very much so’.

Earlier this month, Phoenix agreed to buy Sun Life UK, the British life insurance arm of Canadian group Sun Life Financial, for £248million in cash. 

The group also said it generated a record £950million in cash in the first half of 2022 and predicted it would hit the top end of its £1.3billion-£1.4billion forecast for the year.

Rising chatter suggests that the wave of break-ups in the insurance sector could continue.

Over the weekend, the arrival of a new boss at asset managers M&G could spark discussions about whether the firm should separate its asset management arm from its retail and savings businesses.