Hong Kong insurer FWD Group said to have cut around 50 jobs, some in Singapore

SYDNEY – Asia-focused insurer FWD Group has cut around 50 jobs in its head offices this week, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the matter.

The job cuts took place mainly in Hong Kong and Singapore, added one of the sources. The two sources requested not to be identified as the information has not been made public.

“Like all successful companies, we routinely review and adjust our head office resources to ensure we have an appropriately skilled and sized team to support our fast-growing pan-Asian business,” an e-mailed statement from FWD Group to Reuters said on Feb 2.

FWD is controlled by Hong Kong billionaire Richard Li, who founded the insurance group in 2013.

The cuts come amid a major consolidation in Hong Kong’s financial services sector in the past year, as the city’s investment banks battle a major downturn in capital markets and corporate buyout activity.

Hundreds of jobs have been cut among the major bulge bracket banks as Hong Kong IPO volumes fell to the lowest level in more than 10 years as a result of higher interest rates and ongoing global political tensions.

FWD has attempted an initial public offering (IPO) in New York and Hong Kong over the past two years but has not been able to carry out a deal.

The firm raised almost US$1.8 billion (S$2.4 billion) in private funding rounds in that time.

Its latest IPO filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange expired in September and has not been renewed.

Reuters reported on Feb 1, citing sources, that Mr Li’s Pacific Century group is seeking to sell its majority stake in asset manager PineBridge Investments.

FWD Group is a pan-Asian life insurance business with more than 11 million customers across 10 markets, according to its website. REUTERS

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