July 4, 2019

Clyde & Co advises Sumitomo Life on USD 90 million acquisition of a stake in Singapore Life

Global law firm Clyde & Co has advised Sumitomo Life Insurance Company on its recently announced acquisition of an approximate 25% stake in Singapore Life Pte. Ltd. for USD 90 million. The deal is a significant investment for the Japanese life insurance company in the insurtech space.

Ian Stewart, Corporate Partner and APAC Head of Corporate & Commercial at Clyde & Co, says: "This is a significant transaction for the Asian insurance sector, highlighting the strategic importance that global insurance groups are attaching to technology driven platforms. It's a further demonstration of the considerable growth potential which exists throughout South East Asian markets.

"We are committed to supporting the further growth of the insurance industry throughout ASEAN and are delighted to have been able to support Sumitomo Life on its latest investment."

Clyde & Co worked alongside leading Japanese law firm Anderson Mori & Tomotsune to advise on the investment in Singapore Life, with Clyde & Co's Singapore-based corporate insurance transactions team working closely with Sumitomo Life's broader advisory team. Legal counsel for Singapore Life was Allen & Gledhill. 

Following completion of the necessary regulatory approvals for the transaction, the deal signed on Wednesday 26 June and completed on Friday 28 June.

Masahiro Hashimoto, President and Chief Executive Officer of Sumitomo Life Insurance Company, says: "We foresee rapid growth in the life insurance markets in Southeast Asia and Singapore in particular. We are excited to support Singapore Life's growth by participating in the company as a long-term strategic investor. We are currently conducting studies in the possible provision of new digital services – mainly at the “Sumitomo Life Digital Innovation Labs” launched in Tokyo and Silicon Valley in early 2018. By investing in Singapore Life, which has in-depth expertise and know-how in utilizing technology, we aim to strengthen our ability in gathering information on the latest trends in Singapore where insurtech is flourishing; as well as the application of technology to actual business operations in order to improve customer ease and achieve greater management efficiency.”

The Clyde & Co deal team was led by Ian Stewart (Partner – Corporate, Singapore), with support from Jorina Chai (Associate – Corporate, Singapore).

Clyde & Co’s insurance team consists of over 250 partners and more than 1000 legal professionals worldwide, operating across the firm’s 50+ offices. Its global corporate insurance team is the largest specialist group of its kind and consists of corporate and commercial lawyers in key insurance centres worldwide, including London, New York, Paris, Dubai, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore, and Sydney.

Singapore Life currently offers term insurance, universal life, critical illness and endowment plans and offers consumers competitive product rates through direct and third-party channels including high-net-worth brokers and independent financial advisers. In the coming months, Singapore Life will be rolling out new business lines and product verticals to further entrench its leadership position as the region’s technology-first life insurance and wealth company. Since the start of retail operations in late 2017, Singapore Life has steadily increased its market share in Singapore, bolstered by its 2018 acquisition of Zurich Life's USD 6 billion life insurance portfolio, and plans to leverage on its strength as a fully digitalized company to expand its footprint across Southeast Asia. Singapore Life was awarded “Insurance Start-up Of The Year” in the Insurance Asia Awards 2018 as a life insurer that has impacted the insurance industry through innovative consumer-centric initiatives.