Hong Kong-based insurance firm FWD Group Holdings Limited will enter the Malaysian life insurance market following the signing of an agreement to invest in a majority stake in Gibraltar BSN Life Berhad (Gibraltar BSN).

The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2023, FWD said in a statement Monday.

FWD Group, and other investors, will together hold an effective 70 percent stake in Gibraltar BSN, which was sold by The Prudential Insurance Company of America, the wholly owned subsidiary of US-based NYSE-listed Prudential Financial, Inc. (PFI).

Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN) will continue to hold the remaining 30 percent stake ownership in Gibraltar BSN.

Post-completion, FWD Group will partner with BSN to further develop and grow Gibraltar BSN.

“We’re creating a full-service offering in Malaysia and will be able to offer both family takaful and life insurance solutions in a rapidly growing market with huge long-term potential for growth,” said Huynh Thanh Phong, Group Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of FWD Group.

“We’re excited to bring our digitally-enabled products and services to more people in Malaysia, With these strategic developments, we also substantially complete our footprint across key Southeast Asia markets in the 10th anniversary year for FWD Group,

“Changing the way people feel about takaful and insurance remains the vision that guides our work,” he added.

According to the statement, Malaysia is the fourth largest life insurance market by premium in Southeast Asia, with highly attractive macroeconomic fundamentals and favourable demographics.

FWD Group entered the Malaysian market in March 2019 as a provider of family takaful products, including term life, critical illness, cancer, hospital cash benefit and medical protection.

“Our partnership with BSN underscores our commitment to the Malaysian market and we look forward to playing our part in the growth and development of Malaysia’s takaful and insurance sectors,” said Binayak Dutta, FWD Group Managing Director, Emerging Markets and Group Chief Distribution Officer.

“Since establishment, our business in Malaysia has gone from strength to strength,

“We grew gross written contributions by 173% in our first full year of operation, established our regional technology and innovation hub in Kuala Lumpur, and partnered with a leading social enterprise in Malaysia to develop Fun(d) for Life, a financial literacy programme supporting over 4,200 individuals,” he added.

According to the statement, existing customers and distribution channels of Gibraltar BSN will not be affected by this investment and all existing policies will continue to be honoured.

Customers can also continue to access the company’s products and services using their preferred service channels.

Additionally, existing customers and distribution channels of FWD Takaful will not be affected.

FWD Group plans to rebrand the Gibraltar BSN business at a later date.

FWD Group is a pan-Asian life insurance business with approximately 10 million customers across 10 markets, including some of the fastest growing insurance markets in the world.

Established in 2013, FWD is focused on making the insurance journey simpler, faster and smoother, with innovative propositions and easy-to-understand products, supported by digital technology.

Gibraltar BSN is one of Malaysia’s fast growing life insurance companies.

For over 60 years, Gibraltar BSN has been protecting dreams by providing relevant and affordable protection solutions that are accessible to Malaysians from all walks of life.

As Malaysia’s community protection champion, Gibraltar BSN has an extensive and diverse distribution network which comprises 8 branches, nationwide agency force, and over 400 branches belonging to its strategic partner; Bank Simpanan Nasional.

PFI, a global financial services leader and premier active global investment manager with headquarters in the United States and with approximately $1.4 trillion in assets under management as of December 31, 2022, has operations in the United States, Asia, Europe, and Latin America.

The firm has expanded its access to investing, insurance, and retirement security.

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