Taiwan’s Cathay Life Acquires Asset Manager, Research Firm Conning

November 12, 2014

Cathay Life Insurance Co. of Taiwan has acquired insurance industry investment and asset manager and research firm Conning Holdings Corp. of Hartford, Conn. and all of its subsidiaries.

Under the terms of the agreement, Cathay Life will purchase Conning for up to $240 million from Aquiline Capital Partners, LLC, a New York–based private equity firm investing in financial services, and other shareholders.

Conning is a global investment manager focused on the insurance industry with capabilities in risk and capital management and insurance research. Cathay Life, a subsidiary of Cathay Financial Holding Co. Ltd., is the largest insurance company in Taiwan.

Aquiline Capital Partners, which is run by Jeffrey Greenberg, acquired Conning from Swiss Reinsurance Co. in October, 2009.

Following the closing, Conning will operate as an independent company within the Cathay group and be governed by its own board of directors, according to the firms.

Conning will continue to be led by Woody Bradford, its chief executive officer since 2011, and the existing global management team.

Conning said that its teams in asset management, risk and capital management and insurance research will remain in place in Hartford, New York, Cologne and London.

In Asia Pacific, Cathay Conning Asset Management, a joint venture between Conning and Cathay, will provide global investment and advisory services from its offices in Hong Kong.

Cathay’s management said the transaction is a step towards the company’s goal of building a complete financial services platform in asset management, banking and insurance.

Cathay has been a client, shareholder and strategic partner of Conning since 2011, according to Hong-tu Tsai, chairman of Cathay. “We are excited to broaden our relationship with Conning and support the leadership team as they continue to build the business, both organically and through acquisitions, across markets in Asia, Europe and North America,” he said.

“This transaction is good for Conning’s clients and employees, as well as the long-term strategy of our company,” said Bradford. “Cathay supports the continuation of our firm’s client-focused culture and service model and will provide additional resources to accelerate our business plans and further enhance the value proposition for our clients.”

The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and is expected to close in the second half of 2015.

Cathay Financial Holding Co.’s primary subsidiaries include Cathay Life Insurance, Cathay United Bank, Cathay Century Insurance, Cathay SITE and Cathay Securities. As of June 30, 2014, the company had total assets of $200 billion and 11 million customers. In recent years, Cathay Financial Holdings has also increased its presence in Asia, including in China and Southeast Asia.

Cathay Life Insurance Co. is the largest insurance company in Taiwan. As of June 30, 2014, the company had total assets of over US$146 billion and serves over 7 million customers through over 20,000 tied agents. Cathay Life has also established life insurance companies in China and Vietnam.

Conning reports having almost $92 billion in assets under management as of September 30, 2014, through Conning Inc., Conning Asset Management Limited, Cathay Conning Asset Management Limited, Goodwin Capital Advisers Inc., and Conning Investment Products Inc. Headquartered in Hartford, Conning also has offices in New York, London, and Cologne, and in Hong Kong through Cathay Conning Asset Management, a joint venture between Conning and Cathay.

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