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FSA’s valuable force: Monetization among UK insurers

In late December the UK’s Financial Services Authority held a meeting with the Association of British Insurers setting out its position on securitization and reinsurance for life insurers.

All year there had been talk of monetization being a big story among UK insurers. Legal and General has been long rumoured to have mandated a structuring mandate and Standard Life was looking at both new business strain and value in force (VIF) structures before being overwhelmed with the process of demutualization. There has been talk of VIF securitizations coming from France and the Netherlands.

However, some originators argue that the cost effectiveness of this approach is far from proven and question whether the six months or so spent working on structures is worth it. Also the competitiveness of reinsurance has improved dramatically in response to the capital market, especially for one-year maturity. But for a five-year maturity a reinsurance treaty is twice as expensive as a capital markets solution.

It appears that the FSA is trying to give greater guidance to issuers and arrangers on how to streamline the process; there are hopes for as many as four deals in 2006.