Yuanta Financial Holding Co (元大金控) yesterday said it remains interested in expanding its services in the life insurance business in a continued bid to become the most comprehensive financial service provider in the Greater China region.
Yuanta Financial reiterated its vision at an annual general meeting at which new board and independent directors were elected in preparation of incumbent chairman Yen Ching-chang’s (顏慶章) retirement.
A politician-turned-businessman, Yen has been at the helm of Yuanta Financial for eight years and plans to teach at US and local universities after his retirement.
“I regret that Yuanta Financial failed to acquire a life insurance company during my stewardship,” Yen told reporters on the sidelines of the event.
He urged the company to continue its effort despite regulatory constraints.
Yuanta Financial has reportedly approached Manulife Insurance Co (宏利人壽), the local branch of Canadian Manulife Financial Corp, but to no avail because the Financial Supervisory Commission dissapproves of licensing new life insurance subsidiaries.
The policy makes Yuanta Financial unable to acquire an insurer, as it does not own a life insurance subsidiary.
Yen said he respected the commission’s decision, but expressed his wish for the new management team to overcome that hurdle.
The board is set to convene today to elect Yuanta Financial president Tony Shen (申鼎籛) to replace Yen as chairman, media outlets said.
A veteran in the securities business, Shen will reportedly double as head of the securities arm.
The shareholders’ meeting also gave its go-ahead to grant a board seat to Michael Ma (馬維辰), former chief operating officer at Yuanta Financial and son of the company’s founder, Rudy Ma (馬志玲).
The Ma family vacated their positions at Yuanta Financial and subsidiaries in 2009 amid allegations of irregularities linked to former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).
Yuanta Financial is allegedly eyeing New York Life’s Taiwanese branch, which has been put back on the market after the financial regulator in March rejected Taishin Financial Holding Co’s (台新金控) buyout attempt on concerns over its capital health.
The company, which owns the nation’s largest securities house Yuanta Securities Co (元大寶來證券), also aims to strengthen its securities and banking businesses in Taiwan, while seeking investments in China to grow be the best financial service provider in the region, Yen said.
Yen took comfort in overseeing the smooth integration of Yuanta Securities and Polaris Securities Co (寶來證), in line with his emphasis on responsible governance.
The shareholders approved the distribution of NT$5.44 billion (US$180.61 million) in total cash dividends, or NT$0.55 per share, based on last year’s earnings of NT$6.13 billion, Yuanta Financial said.
“Given last year’s sluggish stock transactions, the showing and payout is not bad,” Yen said.
Shares in Yuanta Financial closed up 2.15 percent to NT$16.6 yesterday, outpacing the TAIEX’s 0.14 percent rise, Taiwan Stock Exchange data showed.