Great Eastern posts 21% rise in Q3 profit

Great Eastern Holdings saw a 21 per cent rise in third quarter net profit to S$235.5 million from S$195 million a year ago.
Great Eastern Holdings saw a 21 per cent rise in third quarter net profit to S$235.5 million from S$195 million a year ago.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Great Eastern Holdings (GE), the insurance arm of OCBC Bank, saw a 21 per cent rise in third quarter net profit to S$235.5 million from S$195 million a year ago on higher operating and non-operating income, as well as more profit from shareholders' fund's investments.

For the nine months to Sept 30, net income surged 86 per cent to S$732.9 million from S$394.1 million for the same year-ago period, Great Eastern reported in a pre-market filing on Tuesday (Oct 24).

The group's total weighted new sales (TWNS) rose 16 per cent to S$306.3 million in the third quarter, due mainly to increased contribution from Singapore's agency and bancassurance channels.

But new business embedded value (NBEV) growth, a measure of expected future profits from new sales, dropped 10 per cent to S$116.7 million from a year ago.

Great Eastern saw mass poaching of its agents last month when some 300, or nearly 10 per cent of its agency size, moved to archrival AIA's newly set up financial advisory arm, AIA Financial Advisers.

Commenting on Great Eastern's results for the first nine months of this year, group chief executive officer Khor Hock Seng said: "The group's agency force is a very important and core channel for us and we are committed to devote key resources to strengthen the agency channel and enhance its effectiveness."

He added: "Coupled with our synergistic bancassurance partnership with OCBC Bank, we remain firmly on track to further drive our business and take it to the next level."

No interim dividend was declared in the third quarter, in line with last year.