Magazine article American Banker

France's Axa in the Market for Another U.S. Insurer

Magazine article American Banker

France's Axa in the Market for Another U.S. Insurer

Article excerpt

Axa, the European insurance giant, would like to buy another U.S. life insurance company -- for example, a variable-life firm to complement Equitable -- its chief financial officer says in a new report.

The Paris company was already on record as not being in the market for a U.S. bank.

Analysts at HSBC Holdings Inc. interviewed Axa CFO Gerard de la Martiniere and released their report Thursday.

Axa has been prominent among the European financial services giants that have been flexing their muscles in North America. Others include HSBC, the London-based banking and financial company.Mr. de la Martiniere said his company is also looking to make further insurance acquisitions in Italy and Spain.

"There is still significant need for further consolidation," he said, according to the HSBC report.

Axa is the largest insurer in Europe and has insurance and financial services holdings throughout the world. In addition to owning Equitable Life Assurance Society of the U.S. outright it owns interests in several other U.S. businesses, including a 70% interest in Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette and a 57% stake in mutual fund company Alliance Capital Management.

Those companies are part of Axa Financial, the French company's New York-based U.S. subsidiary. In April, Michael Hegarty, vice chairman and chief operating officer of Axa Financial, said the company was not looking to make bank acquisitions in the United States.

"We want the freedom to distribute through as many desktops as possible," he said. …

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