Malaysia: CIMB group formalises insurance joint venture with Aviva plc

22 Jun 2007

CIMB group, Malaysia's second largest financial institution formalised a strategic joint venture with Aviva Plc, the world's fifth largest insurance group. The life and Takaful joint venture will look to offer differentiated and innovative retirement savings, protection and investment products to retail and corporate clients, in Malaysia.

The strategic partnership sees Aviva taking a 49% stake in CIMB group's insurance subsidiaries; Commerce Life Assurance Berhad and Commerce Takaful Berhad, for a consideration of RM500 million. CIMB group will own the remaining 51%. All regulatory and shareholder approvals for this transaction has been obtained and it is expected to complete this month.

The share sale agreement was executed today by chief executive of CIMB group, Dato' Nazir Razak and Aviva Asia Pte Ltd managing director, Charles Anderson.

CIMB group's collaboration with Aviva will enable the group to deliver best-of-breed life insurance and takaful products to its customers. In welcoming Aviva to the group, Nazir said the collaboration provides huge opportunity, benefiting both parties. "This joint venture is one of immense potential. CIMB group's distribution reach, treasury capabilities and customer base, combined with Aviva's expertise in designing industry leading insurance products and processes is a natural fit. We expect the joint venture to be a leading Malaysian insurer within a very short time frame." Nazir also remarked that the joint venture is consistent with Malaysia's Financial Sector Master Plan that encourages domestic financial institutions to enhance their competitiveness through clever partnerships in light of market liberalisation.

The joint venture also involves an exclusive bancassurance partnership with CIMB Bank to distribute CIMB Aviva life insurance, accident and health insurance products including associated investment linked and retirement offerings.

Nazir added that the Malaysian population was still under insured compared to other more developed nations. For example, according to SwissRe, only 50% of Malaysian households are insured compared to 123% and 600% for Taiwan and Japan respectively. "The opportunity that exists is huge. Aviva's product expertise and CIMB group's reach will ensure that this joint venture brings with it a compelling proposition to address this market opportunity," elaborated Nazir.

Nazir also added that the joint venture entity will be launching a new logo and going through a re-branding exercise. "It is crucial for us to solidify our presence in the market and as such will be going through a full scale brand positioning exercise. In fact, as this is being done, the joint venture will already be launching a new investment linked insurance product next week in the form of Takaful Global Giants."

Meanwhile, Anderson in his speech said: "Aviva has many joint ventures around the world and their successes have been defined by the values and vision we share with our partners. We have big ambitions for our strategic partnership with CIMB, one of which would be to take a top five position in Malaysia's life insurance and Takaful sector. Led by a strong management team, I am confident the JV will deliver against this."

Anderson announced the new management team for the joint venture during the event. The life business will be headed by Ho Ming Heng as chief executive officer. Most recently, Ming Heng served at Aviva Asia's regional office as deputy managing director and operations director, Asia. The Takaful business will continue to be led by Zainudin Ishak as chief executive officer. "The team is based in Kuala Lumpur, comprising senior management members from Aviva and CIMB group who bring with them vast experience and in-depth knowledge of the industry," said Anderson.

On another note, CIMB group had also obtained Bank Negara Malaysia approval for the sale of 100% of its general insurance subsidiary Commerce Assurance Berhad to Allianz General Insurance Malaysia (AGIM). This is slated for completion in July 2007.


For media queries, please contact:
Effendy Shahul Hamid                                               
Telephone: +60 3 2087 3030

Jessica Lee - Aviva Asia Pacific
Telephone: +65 63217728

Notes to editors:

About CIMB group
CIMB group is Malaysia's second largest financial services provider which is listed on Bursa Malaysia via Bumiputra-Commerce Holdings Berhad (BCHB).

In 2004, CIMB group began the process of creating a strong and competitive universal bank anchored by Commerce International Merchant Bankers (CIMB), the region's largest investment bank. Leveraging on its brand and management, it undertook four strategic acquisitions worth RM12.8 billion involving Commerce-Principal, GK Goh Securities of Singapore, Bumiputra-Commerce Bank and Southern Bank. The group recently announced an internal reorganisation of BCHB to consolidate BCHB's insurance and Indonesian banking operations into CIMB group.

Hence, in just two years, CIMB transformed itself from Malaysia's number one investment bank into a regional universal banking group. The CIMB group has grown from a staff strength of 1,000 in Malaysia to 20,000 in 12 countries while its market capitalisation has increased from RM6.3 billion to approximately RM40 billion. The group's total assets grew from RM14.7 billion to RM155 billion with a further RM18 billion being third party funds under management.

Based on the belief that customers want comprehensive and seamless service which meets the entire spectrum of their financial needs, the CIMB group now has a full range of financial products and services, both conventional and Islamic, enabling it to serve everyone from the largest corporations to the smallest retail customers through 3 main brand entities:

  • CIMB Bank (including Bumiputra-Commerce Bank and Southern Bank), the consumer banking arm, which represents personal banking, business banking and direct banking;
  • CIMB Investment Bank (formerly Commerce International Merchant Bankers), the investment banking arm, which represents investment banking, corporate banking, asset management and private banking; and
  • CIMB Islamic (formerly Commerce Tijari), which exists as a comprehensive Shariah-compliant parallel bank for all the products and services within the group.

About Aviva plc

  • Aviva is the leading provider of life and pensions to Europe with substantial positions in other markets around the world, making it the world's fifth largest insurance group based on gross worldwide premiums at 31 December 2005.
  • Aviva's principal business activities are long-term savings, fund management and general insurance, with worldwide total sales of £41.5 billion and assets under management of £364 billion at 31 December 2006.
  • The Aviva media centre at includes images, company and product information and a news release archive.