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Old Mutual Shifts Isle Of Man Assurer

by Carla Johnson, Investors

14 December 2001

The South African-based financial services group, Old Mutual, has sold its life assurance operation based on the Isle of Man to Aberdeen Asset Management and has confirmed that it plans to sell more of its asset management businesses that duplicate other operations of the company.

Already this year, chief executive Jim Sutcliffe has confirmed that the group had shifted ten of its US asset management businesses and more will be sold in the near future.

'Our brand name is so big in South Africa that we grow better organically than in buying up other companies,' Sutcliffe said. 'Our share of the South African [insurance] market is about 30 percent and we want to focus on building our sales force and improving service quality by rebuilding infrastructure.'

Aberdeen Asset Management has revealed that it bought Old Mutual International (Isle of Man) and related service and dormant companies in the UK, Isle of Man and Jersey for a 'consideration of approximately £36.15 million.'

Old Mutual International was incorporated in July 1985 in the Isle of Man as an offshore life assurance company but has been closed to new business since 1998.

After the acquisition was announced by Aberdeen Asset Management, Old Mutual released a statement confirming that the transaction does not affect the Old Mutual International's successful offshore life assurance and fund management businesses managed from Guernsey nor the offshore private banking business of Gerrard Private Bank based on the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey.

Michael Newman, Chairman of Old Mutual Isle of Man said: 'The Old Mutual International Isle of Man transaction removes an obvious duplication in our corporate structure and enables us to focus even greater resources on our growth business. Our service to offshore customers through our Guernsey based Old Mutual International and Gerrard's offshore bank remains totally unaffected.'

Aberdeen Asset Management describes its acquisition as part of the company's strategy of combining growth through an increased diversity of distribution channels, a wider choice of funds and a high level of customer service.

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