Friends Provident International, recently acquired by UK insurer Aviva, has restructured its Asia management team, resulting in the departure of James Tan as head of Asia and the hire of Charles Barrows as managing director for Hong Kong. FPI will also shortly appoint a managing director for Singapore.
The firm has a general manager for Southeast Asia in the form of Chris Gill, who has held this role since 2006, according to his LinkedIn account. It is understood that Gill will remain at FPI, but that his role may change, though the firm declined to comment on this.
Barrows has been with Aviva for 20 years, most recently as Hong Kong chief executive and previously Asia chief financial officer. Aviva has named Margaret Chiu as acting CEO for Hong Kong.
Both the Hong Kong and Singapore heads will report to Adrian Emery, London-based chief executive of FPI, a role he took on in September. Recently he has helped lead the integration of FPI into Aviva Asia.
Tan had overseen FPI's Hong Kong and Singapore operations – its two branches in the region – since 2012. FPI said he had decided to leave to pursue other interests. AsianInvestor could not ascertain where he might be heading and could not contact him by press time.
FPI's new structure essentially removes the regional layer to allow in-market heads to be responsible for business growth. Each branch, including Hong Kong, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates, will take greater responsibility for expanding its customer service, product and marketing capabilities, with governance and oversight being managed centrally across FPI.
Aviva acquired Friends Life Group in April 2015 for £5.6 billion pounds ($8.8 billion) in stock in the UK insurance industry’s biggest takeover in 15 years, according to Bloomberg.
FPI retains its own brand and remains a separate business after the acquisition. It provides life assurance, pensions and investment products in Singapore, Hong Kong and the UAE to 160,000 customers worldwide and manages £7.2 billion of customers’ funds as of February 2015.