Lombard International Assurance offers customised insurance-based wealth, estate and succession planning solutions on a global scale. Three decades’ worth of experience has brought them the expertise to help clients successfully navigate unpredictable times, with the challenging events of the past year proving no exception.
Wanda Rich, editor of Global Banking & Finance Review, recently spoke with the Group CEO, Stuart Parkinson, to discuss the market leader’s keys to success, the principle benefits of unit-linked life insurance, and how much the industry has changed since Lombard International Assurance was founded in 1991.
What are the key contributors to the success of Lombard International Assurance S.A. over the past 30 years?
Lombard International Assurance is a leading provider of cross-border insurance-based wealth, estate and succession planning solutions for upper affluent, high-net-worth individuals, families and institutions. Our success is built on our 30-year track record in offering customised solutions that are proven and robust, but also flexible, portable and adaptable to the evolving lifestyles of our clients.
Our multi-jurisdictional experience, agility and eagerness to tackle complex problems mean that we remain a provider of choice. We have exceptional in-house expertise to manage the demands of near-constant changes to regulations and market dynamics, an ever-greater emphasis on wealth longevity and the increasing social responsibility of our clients.
Another key contributor to our success is the value we place on all our partnerships. Our 30 years’ experience means that we truly understand what matters when it comes to protecting and preserving wealth today, so that it can be passed on to future generations. This is what drives us.
Lombard International Assurance S.A. has a history spanning thirty years. How do you see the state of the industry then and now?
The Wealth Assurance industry is uniquely positioned at the intersection of asset management, private banking and insurance. As we look at the sector as a whole, we have seen a notable shift in the trend towards non-traditional assets, with greater focus on green growth and sustainability. The appetite for ESG investing is continuing to grow as HNWIs re-examine where their wealth is being invested and who is managing their assets, reconsider the ‘purpose’ of their wealth, and align their assets with their non-financial goals and aspirations.
The changing social demographics, modern family dynamics and the current transfer of wealth to the next generation are providing fresh opportunities and challenges for the industry. Clients, regardless of generation, are geographically diverse, invest in multiple asset classes, and often have personal and business requirements intertwined with cross-border lives – heightening the importance of the need to review wealth, estate and succession plans.
How have you adapted business operations as a result of the current pandemic?
As a leading and trusted global wealth solutions provider, being able to maintain our best in class service and solutions, whatever the circumstances, is key. We quickly adapted to new ways of working and launched new business practices and solutions, such as distance selling, e-signatures, remote working and digital communications. In addition, we continued to invest in our infrastructure and in our people, and also to innovate, ensuring that we were able to continue delivering the service experience our partners and clients have come to expect from Lombard International.
What are some of the benefits of investing via insurance structures?
Unit-linked life insurance, also known as Wealth Assurance or Private Placement Life Insurance (PPLI), is an established and internationally-recognised tool for wealth, estate and succession planning. It is adaptable to the most complex of situations, and its robustness and flexibility make it highly complementary to other wealth management solutions. It can be tailored to suit the unique needs of individuals, their families and institutions, with the potential to enhance financial planning. The main benefits include asset and investor protection, consolidated tax reporting, international portability for investors who want to diversify their financial interests across multiple geographical regions, and access to international investment opportunities, including non-traditional assets such as private equity and real estate.
Can you tell us about the strength of Lombard International Assurance’s business model from a financial perspective?
Our 2020 financial results demonstrated the success of our endeavours, the strength of our business model, our market-leading expertise and the relevance of our solutions in supporting the ever-evolving wealth planning needs of the upper affluent, HNW and UHNW clients and institutions that we serve across the globe. We delivered a robust 2020 financial performance against the unprecedented global pandemic, which caused significant market volatility and disruption to everyone’s daily lives, including those of our partners and clients. I was proud that we achieved record Group Assets Under Administration (AUA) of €49.3 billion1 ($60.6 billion2) as of 31 December 2020.
Furthermore, our financial strength ratings from AM Best have been reaffirmed at A- (Excellent), and KBRA reaffirmed an insurance strength rating of A, both for the third consecutive year. These ratings reflect the Group’s profitability and low-risk business strategy, the strength of our balance sheet and liquidity position, and our leading position in the unit-linked life assurance market.
We’ve had a strong start to 2021 and look forward to continuing the momentum throughout the year.
What should we expect to see from Lombard International Assurance S.A. this year?
Throughout 2021, our forward-looking strategy is focused on the continued and sustainable growth of the business, underpinned by operational excellence. Under this framework, we are further bolstering our technology and digital investments, enhancing our global connectivity, strengthening and leveraging the footprint of the Group and building differentiated product offerings, whilst also sharpening our market expertise. We are striving to become even more connected globally, ensuring that we continue to provide the level of service that our partners and clients expect across all the geographies in which we serve.