Zurich Financial eyes bolt-on buys in emerging markets

Swiss insurer Zurich Financial Services AG (ZURN.VX) will continue to eye bolt-on acquisitions in emerging markets and sees Islamic insurance, or takaful, as key to growing its Middle Eastern business.
Zurich earlier in October said it bought privately-owned Lebanese insurer Compagnie Libanaise D'Assurances and recently set up a management unit dedicated to the wider Middle East and Africa region.
The insurer is betting on sharia-compliant insurance sector, corporates and large commercial businesses to grow its presence in the wider Middle East.
Analysts expect the sharia-compliant insurance sector to grow nearly 15 percent annually in the next five years and exceed $7 billion in premium income.
With a penetration rate of around 1 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), the overall Middle Eastern insurance sector lags mature markets but its enormous growth potential has already attracted global heavyweights such as AXA (AXAF.PA) and Allianz AVLG.DE.


Islamic finance short on wealth management -report

Islamic banks are failing to cater for clients' wealth management and estate planning needs, pushing them to rely largely on traditional asset managers, said a report published by Bank Sarasin (BSAN.S) this week.

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