St James’s Place (SJP) International (not our famous ST James Power Station ^_^) has just been granted a life insurance licence in Singapore.
This means that the company can offer its non-contractual, International Investor Account product to clients from its base in Singapore.
For those who don’t know, SJP International is part of the FTSE-100 listed SJP Wealth Management Group and has been operating as a Dublin based insurer for more than 20 years, offering SJP’s clients access to its International Investment Bond.
This new permission in Singapore follows SJP’s purchase of The Henley Group in June last year. It has already made another product, the International Investor Bond, available through its Shanghai office – an office also acquired when it bought The Henley Group last year.
In addition to Singapore and Shanghai, SJP also has a presence in Hong Kong through last years’ acquisition.
It is believed that SJP is only the second foreign company in about two years to have been granted a full insurance licence in Singapore since Standard Life received one in October 2012.
Through the International Investor Account, clients will have access to SJP’s range of funds, the management of which are outsourced to handpicked asset managers from around the world.
SJP’s entrance to the Asian markets comes at a time of considerable upheaval, with regulators in both Singapore and Hong Kong tightening the rules around the sale of more traditional contractual savings schemes.
At the beginning of this year, Hong Kong’s Office of the Commissioner of Insurance introduced a ban on indemnity commissions which are paid to advisers at the point an investment linked assurance scheme (ILAS).
Meanwhile in Singapore, following the regulator’s expansive Financial Advisory Industry Review (FAIR), the industry is preparing for a raft of measures, including the sale of Investment Linked Products (ILP) to encourage a greater focus on long term client care.
From the look of it, I think ST James’ Place is targeting the estimated 120,000 British expats based in Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai, who have a combined £12bn worth of assets to invest. But with the fierce competition, maybe they will come out with some more innovative products.