Prudential could be broken up as bosses at the pension giant try to manage the impact of the world’s ageing population.
The firm has begun a review of its £45billion pension liabilities – possibly triggering a split into three separate firms focused on the UK, the US and Asia. It has hired Clare Bousfield to head the probe after she helped to sell Aegon’s £9billion annuity portfolio. The Pru’s annuities operation serves hundreds of thousands of British pensioners, whose nest eggs could move to a new business if the change goes ahead.
An even more drastic approach would see the company sell its whole British pensions operation – possibly as part of a wider break-up. If that happened, its only remaining UK operation would be asset management business M&G. If Prudential pushes ahead with a sale, potential buyers are likely to include Rothesay Life and Pension Insurance Corporation. A spokesman said: ‘We do not comment on market speculation.’ Shares closed up 0.77 per cent at 1,627.5p on Friday.