Insurer Prudential may quit London HQ as it shifts more operations and its new chief exec to Asia
Prudential has hinted it could abandon its London headquarters as it continues to move staff to Asia.
The insurer, founded in London’s Hatton Garden in 1848 to give loans and policies to working people, has sold all of its European and US operations in recent years.
Despite being listed in the UK, it is planning to base its new chief executive in Asia for the first time.
Break-up: Prudential, which was founded in London’s Hatton Garden in 1848 to give loans and policies to working people, has sold all of its European and US operations in recent years
Already 65 per cent of Prudential’s head office staff have been shifted from London to Hong Kong – a number which is set to grow, according to chief financial officer Mark FitzPatrick, who will temporarily take over as chief executive from Mike Wells, who is retiring.
The Pru will keep an office in the capital ‘while we continue to have a significant shareholder base in London’, FitzPatrick said, to serve those investors and help with UK regulatory requirements.
But he gave no commitment to keeping the official headquarters in the Pru’s historic home.
FitzPatrick said: ‘As regards [to] where we’re based, we think there is strategic importance to our London listing.
‘A change of domicile would require 75 per cent of shareholders to vote for this and at the moment over 40 per cent of our shareholder base is based in the UK.’
Wells added: ‘We have no ambition to have all our employees in a single office.’
Prudential’s renewed commitment to Asia came as it unveiled its full-year results for 2021.
Profit from its continuing operations slipped by 10 per cent to £1.7billion, as the firm admitted that trading in Hong Kong was ‘difficult’ due to strict Covid-19 containment measures.
Wells said Prudential – which employs around 23,000 – lost 52 staff to Covid last year.
But it will not be badly affected by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, he said.
Pensions powering up Britain
L&G boss Nigel Wilson praised recent moves towards reform
The energy crisis has ‘sharpened the focus’ of government on boosting green and British-produced power, Legal & General said.
Insurers such as L&G have been pushing the Government to reform rules that govern which types of assets they can plough savers’ money in to.
Pension funds are penalised for investing in risky areas such as infrastructure, start-ups and housing development due to strict regulations.
But experts think these restrictions – many introduced by the EU – can be relaxed post-Brexit. L&G boss Nigel Wilson praised recent moves towards reform