New York Life regrets failed sale of unit to Taishin

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Wed, Apr 10, 2013 - Page 13

US insurance giant New York Life Insurance Co yesterday voiced regret over the failure to sell its local unit to Taishin Financial Holding Co (台新金控), adding that it is working closely with financial regulators onother options.

New York Life made the statement after the Financial Supervisory Commission last week rejected plans by Taishin Financial to acquire New York Life Insurance Taiwan Corp (紐約人壽) for NT$100 million (US$3.3 million) on concerns about Taishin’s financial strength.

“Regrettably, we were not able to close the deal with Taishin Financial,” New York Life chief financial officer Michael Sproule said in a statement six months after the company inked an agreement to sell the Taiwanese unit to focus on the US market.

The US firm’s agreement with Taishin to transfer the local unit’s ownership expired on March 31.

Media reported earlier that Yuanta Financial Holding Co (元大金控) might be interested in acquiring New York Life Taiwan to diversify its securities-centered businesses.

“We will continue to be focused on an outcome for New York Life Taiwan that is in the best interests of the policyholders,” Sproule said. “It is also important that we support the work of our employees and distributors who have built a customer-focused company in Taiwan for the past 20 years.”

Taishin Financial, which last week it said was working to extend the buyout agreement, declined to comment on Sproule’s statement.

Taishin Financial spokesman Welch Lin (林維俊) said the conglomerate considered it better to stay as low-key as possible on the matter.

The commission on April 2 said that Taishin Financial should refrain from filing an application to acquire New York Life Taiwan until it addressed its double leverage ratio of 119 percent, which is weaker than the 109 percent average of its peers.

Furthermore, Taishin International Bank (台新銀行), the group’s main subsidiary, has yet to show improvement after being ranked as the second-worst bank in terms of the number of consumer complaints over the past two years, the commission said.