Aviva statement on preference shares

Aviva plc and General Accident plc preference shares

Since the full year results announcement on 8 March 2018, Aviva plc (“Aviva”) has heard a wide range of views on its preference shares*, has spoken to a large number of investors and has received strong feedback and criticism.

As a result Aviva has listened. Aviva announces that it has decided to take no action to cancel its preference shares.

Under current regulation the preference shares will no longer count as regulatory capital in 2026. Aviva will work towards obtaining regulatory approval for the preference shares, or a suitable substitute, to qualify as capital from 2026 onwards.   If as we approach 2026 Aviva needs to reconsider this position, it will do so after taking into account the fair market value of the preference shares at that time.

On 8 March 2018 Aviva stated it has the ability to cancel the preference shares at par value, having received clear legal advice. The review of the preference shares was initiated as a result of Aviva’s duty to examine what is right for the business, balancing the interests of ordinary shareholders and preference shareholders. Aviva needed to address the issue of the preference shares given regulatory capital considerations and their cost.

Aviva is in a strong financial position and still plans to deploy £3 billion of excess cash in 2018 and 2019 to reduce hybrid debt, fund bolt-on acquisitions and buy back ordinary shares.

Mark Wilson, Group Chief Executive Officer of Aviva plc, said:

“I am very aware that Aviva is in a position of trust with our customers and investors. To maintain that trust it is critical that we listen to and act on feedback. The reputation of Aviva, and the trust people have in us, is paramount. Our announcement today means that preference shareholders can rest secure in their holdings.

The Board and I have a duty to consider not just the financial implications of our actions.  We must consider the impact to Aviva’s wider reputation. I hope our decision today goes some way to restoring that trust.”  

*Preference shares issued by Aviva plc and General Accident plc




Nigel Prideaux +44 (0)20 7662 0215
Andrew Reid +44 (0)20 7662 3131
Sarah Swailes +44 (0)20 7662 6700


Chris Esson +44 (0)20 7662 8115
Diane Michelberger +44 (0)20 7662 0911

Notes to editors:

  • Aviva provides life insurance, general insurance, health insurance and asset management to 33 million customers.
  • In the UK we are the leading insurer serving one in every four households and have strong businesses in selected markets in Europe, Asia and Canada. Our shares are listed on the London Stock Exchange and we are a member of the FTSE100 index.  
  • Aviva’s asset management business, Aviva Investors, provides asset management services to both Aviva and external clients, and currently manages over £350 billion in assets. Total group assets under management at Aviva group are £490 billion.
  • Aviva helps people save for the future and manage the risks of everyday life; we paid out £34.6 billion in benefits and claims in 2017.
  • By serving our customers well, we are building a business which is strong and sustainable, which our people are proud to work for, and which makes a positive contribution to society.
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