Zurich, which has been operating in Singapore since 2006, said it was making the move because it believed a proactive approach towards more transparency, wider product choice and higher advice standards would ultimately lead to better outcomes for customers, distributors and the industry as a whole.
“This strategic initiative is a decision made in tandem with local market trends and developments to ensure that Zurich is continually aligning itself to best meet the needs of its customers, distributors and the local Singapore market,“ said Oscar M. Carrillo, interim chief executive officer for Zurich Life Singapore in a statement.
The financial adviser representatives transferring to the newly-established Nexus Singapore operation will be independent of the Zurich going forward, and Zurich does not intend to have any ownership in the Nexus Group.
However, while there are no formal links between the two companies, Mark Hartigan, the chief executive for Zurich’s global life business in the Asia Pacific and the Middle East, joined the company in 2009 having previously been deputy chief executive at Nexus Group in the Middle East from 2006 to 2009.
The Nexus Group which itself was established in 2006, is currently the largest financial advisory firm in the Middle East offering insurance, savings and investment products to local and international clients and corporates.
The Singapore business, which is licensed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, will be led by chief executive Gary Harvey, who has more than 26 years of experience in the financial services industry of which 13 years have been in republic.
“The Singapore market presents a number of exciting opportunities for the growth of the Nexus business outside the Middle East,” Harvey said.
“Not only is the dynamic local life insurance market attractive, but Singapore offers a well regulated and governed marketplace, a growing population of wealth and good geographical access to the rest of Asia,” he said.
Mass affluent focus
Nexus Singapore plans to initially focus on advising on life, savings and investment products for the mass affluent market though it intends to expand into the high net worth market segments in due course.
Zurich’s Carrillo said the transition, which begins on 1 October, would have no direct impact on the firm’s existing customers.
“All existing customer commitments remain the same and customers will continue to be serviced by the same trusted representatives. Through Nexus Singapore, Zurich’s clients will be able to gain access to a wider selection of products and providers,” he said.
“Overall, this will help to shape a more competitive and transparent insurance market, which is the hallmark of a well-regulated, mature and developed market place,” he added.
"The Singapore market presents a number of exciting opportunities for the growth."