Prudential and AIG Execs Selling AIA Deal to Asia Staff

The chief executives of Britain’s Prudential Plc and American International Group met employees of the two firms in Southeast Asia on Thursday, in a bid to address concerns about the insurance industry’s record M&A deal unveiled earlier this week.

Prudential CEO Tidjane Thiam and his AIG counterpart Robert Benmosche spoke to employees in Malaysia in the morning, and were due to hold ‘town hall’ meetings in Singapore in the afternoon. They are expected to visit Thailand on Friday.

Prudential is buying AIG’s Asian life insurance arm, American International Assurance (AIA), for $35.5 billion, in a big bet on soaring demand for personal financial services in Asia. AIA is regarded as AIG’s Asian crown jewel.

AIA serves more than 20 million customers in Asia. Prudential has more than 11 million life insurance customers in the region.

In Malaysia, where AIA has more than 1,000 staff and a network of 10,000 agents, Thiam and Benmosche briefed staff for an hour at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in central Kuala Lumpur.

Thiam answered questions, many of which centered on fears of job losses, said a person who attended the meeting, but who declined to be named.

In Singapore, where both AIA and Prudential have about 15 percent market share, the two CEOs will address employees at two meetings, Prudential said in an emailed statement. “Over 800 employees are expected to attend the Prudential session, which will last about an hour,” it said.

Thiam held staff meetings in Hong Kong on Wednesday, the Financial Times newspaper said.

(Reporting by Julie Goh in KUALA LUMPUR and Saeed Azhar in SINGAPORE; Writing by Muralikumar Anantharaman, Editing by Ian Geoghegan)