Guardian Financial Services ("Guardian") has today agreed to acquire £1.7 billion of pension annuities-in-payment from Phoenix.
Guardian has completed three transactions since its strategy to acquire closed books and businesses began in November 2011, making it the most successful European closed life insurance consolidator, in terms of acquisitions, during this period.
Phoenix will transfer approximately £1.7 billion of assets to Guardian to meet all future payments to the annuity policyholders, initially under a reassurance arrangement. The companies will work together to transfer the policies to Guardian under Part VII of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, subject to regulatory approval. Following the transfer, Guardian will manage approximately £17 billion of assets on behalf of 900,000 customers in the UK and Ireland.
The transaction follows Guardian's acquisition of Ark Life from AIB, announced in December 2013. Ark Life is a high-quality, closed life assurance business and will be a platform for further consolidation in the Irish domestic market and the reassurance of life insurance business from the UK and continental Europe. Ark Life manages €4bn of assets and 270,000 policies in Ireland.
Guardian acquired £5 billion of annuities-in-payment in its first transaction with Phoenix in June 2012. Guardian was acquired from Aegon in November 2011.
Jonathan Yates, the Chief Executive of Guardian, said: "We are delighted to have concluded our second transaction with Phoenix following on so quickly from our recent announcement concerning AIB and Ark Life. Guardian has a very successful strategy, a strong capital position and is well placed to benefit from the significant opportunities in the European life assurance market."