FWD Group buys Siam Commercial Bank for US$3b to expand distribution network

FWD Group has acquired Siam Commercial Bank (SCB) for THB92.7 billion (US$3 billion) and is concurrently entering into a distribution agreement to establish a long-term life bancassurance partnership. Under the agreement, SCB will distribute FWD’s life insurance products to the its customers in Thailand, leveraging the bank’s distribution channels for a period of 15 years.

The transaction, which is expected to be completed in the latter part of 2019, will be the largest ever life insurance transaction in Southeast Asia in terms of total value, said a press release. The partnership look to combine SCB’s large customer base and distribution network with FWD’s innovative product propositions and strong digital capabilities.

FWD Group CEO Huynh Thanh Phong said SCB has an extensive presence and deep local experience in Thailand, which lies a significant opportunity for future growth. “This partnership will provide SCB’s growing customer base with access to FWD’s market-leading and innovative product suite and demonstrates our commitment to fulfilling the evolving savings and protection needs of consumers,” he added.

Following completion, SCB Life’s customers will not be affected by the transfer of ownership to FWD and will continue to receive protections, benefits and customer services in accordance with the terms of their policies. All existing SCB Life policies will continue to be honoured by FWD after the closure of the transaction.

According to Arthid Nanthawithaya, SCB CEO and chairman of executive committee, the bancassurance business remains a key long-term strategic priority for the bank. Its long-term growth aspirations for the life insurance business in Thailand and the value of customer-centricity are also shared by FWD.

Meanwhile, both parties will also devote “substantial investment” to develop digital channels in an effort to enhance digital capabilities and provide highly enhanced digital experiences to customers, said Arak Sutivong, president of SCB.

The SCB was established 1906 as the one of the first Thai bank. As of March 2019, SCB’s total market capitalisation was THB449 billion and the bank was Thailand’s largest commercial bank in terms of total assets (THB3,200 billion). FWD, on the other hand, was established in Asia in 2013. It spans Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong & Macau, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Japan, offering life and medical insurance, general insurance, employee benefits as well as Shariah and Family Takaful products.

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