HSBC gets nod to sell Malaysia unit stake to FWD

HONG KONG • HSBC Holdings' Asia-Pacific insurance unit has received regulatory approval to divest its 49 per cent stake in the Malaysian life insurance joint venture to Hong Kong-based FWD Group, owned by tycoon Richard Li.

The deal to sell the stake in HSBC Amanah Takaful Malaysia has been approved by the Malaysian central bank, and is expected to be completed in the first half of next year, the Britain-headquartered lender said in a statement late on Thursday. The financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

"We have decided to exit the takaful manufacturing business and focus on our banking operations in Malaysia," said Mr Stuart Milne, HSBC Malaysia unit chief, adding that the bank would continue to distribute insurance products in that market.

Takaful refers to Islamic insurance products. Takaful firms follow religious guidelines including bans on interest and monetary speculation, and a prohibition on investing in industries such as alcohol and gambling.

Reuters reported in August that FWD had agreed to buy a 49 per cent stake in HSBC Amanah Takaful initially, with plans to own a majority by buying shares from the existing partners.

A foray into the South-east Asian country by FWD will add to its Asian market footprint that covers Indonesia, Japan, Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 22, 2018, with the headline 'HSBC gets nod to sell Malaysia unit stake to FWD'. Print Edition | Subscribe