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Feb 2 (Reuters) – MetLife Inc’s (MET.N) fourth-quarter profit rose nearly 7% to surpass Wall Street estimates on Wednesday, as strong investment gains cushioned the hit from higher pandemic-related claims in some parts of its business.
The U.S. insurer reported an adjusted profit of $2.17 per share, compared with $2.03 a year earlier. Analysts on average had expected $1.47, according to Refinitiv data.
New York-based MetLife’s net investment income jumped 7% on an adjusted basis to $5.2 billion, bolstered by higher returns from its private equity investments.
Insurance providers worldwide have recorded rising investment returns over the past year as markets continue to rebound from a pandemic-induced slump, helping offset a jump in claim payouts related to the coronavirus crisis.
Vaccine rollouts were expected to ease the burden for insurers, but the highly infectious Delta variant ratcheted up COVID-related claims to $5.5 billion in the first nine months of last year, far higher than the total for all of 2020. read more
Insurers reported higher COVID-related fatalities last year than in 2020, when the deaths were mainly among older people who typically do not take out life insurance.
The company’s group benefits unit saw a 95% slump in earnings in the quarter, hurt by unfavorable group life underwriting as a result of COVID-19.
Adjusted earnings for the insurer’s U.S. business fell 37% to $640 million from unfavorable underwriting, while Asia posted a 19% rise thanks to higher investment income.
For Latin America, adjusted earnings surged to $125 million from $14 million in the same quarter a year earlier due to lower COVID-related claims.
MetLife logged a $196 million loss from net derivatives, driven by forex rate changes and stronger equity markets. Such derivatives are held to hedge against market volatility.
Reporting by Sohini Podder in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
SHANGHAI, June 25 (Reuters) – China’s securities regulator proposed rules to regulate private pension investment via mutual funds, setting the criteria for qualified products and sales agents under a scheme that will channel fresh savings into the country’s capital markets.
The draft rules, published by the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) late on Friday, came after Beijing in April launched a milestone private pension scheme to tackle challenges of aging population. read more
Under the scheme, eligible Chinese citizens can buy mutual funds, savings deposits and insurance products via their own individual pension accounts, potentially boosting a pension market that has lured foreign asset managers including Fidelity International and BlackRock.
The proposed rules “have set a relatively high bar for products and institutions, and are designed to ensure safety of pension fund investment and protect investors’ interest,” the CSRC said in a statement on its website.
Initially, pension target funds with at least 50 million yuan ($7.48 million) of assets over the past four quarters are eligible under the pilot pension scheme, the CSRC said.
Other types of retail funds with clear investment strategies and good long-term track records will be gradually added to the eligibility list as the scheme expands, the CSRC said.
Currently, there are 91 pension target funds that meet the CSRC’s criteria, according to TF Securities.
In addition, fund managers and sales agents participating in private pension business must set up internal control systems, adopt long-term incentives, and ensure independent operation of the pension assets, according to the rules.
Independent consultancies estimate China’s private pension market will grow to at least $1.7 trillion by 2025, from $300 billion currently.
In 20 years, 28% of China’s population will be more than 60 years old, up from 10% today, making it one of the most rapidly-aging populations in the world, according to the World Health Organization.
($1 = 6.6878 Chinese yuan renminbi)
Reporting by Samuel Shen and Brenda Goh
Editing by Nick Zieminski
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Amid soaring inflation and slowdown worries, investors are busy finding out save haven for their money. While some are batting in favour of gold, some investors are favouring debt instruments for short term like bank fixed deposits (FDs) and other deposits. But, if we go by the Jefferies findings, around half of the Indian household savings in March 2022 has been invested in real estate properties whereas bank deposits and gold are distant second and third most preferred asset investment options among Indian households.
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