advance bancassurance strategies in Russia and Romania
Sogecap, the life insurance unit of French bancassurer Société
Générale, has received approval from Russia’s banking regulator to
acquire payment protection insurer Soyuznik and establish a life
insurance company in Russia.
The two entities will be 81 percent owned by Sogecap and 19 percent
by Banque Société Générale Vostok, a wholly owed Russian banking
unit of Société Générale.
News of Sogecap’s Russian expansion followed shortly after the
announcement that it had received permission from Romanian
authorities to establish a private pensions company. The new
pensions company has been founded as a joint venture between
Sogecap and Société Générale’s Romanian bank, Banque Roumaine de
Développement (BRD). Sogecap has a 51 percent interest in the new
pensions company and BRD a 49 percent interest.
BRD, which is 58 percent owned by Société Générale, operates 700
branches in Romania – the largest number in the country – and has a
customer base of 2 million people. This distribution reach
represents a key advantage at a time when Romania is implementing a
policy of shifting from a state-funded pensions system to a
mandatory private system.
The process began on 17 September this year when Romanians under
the age of 35 and in employment began selecting the private pension
fund into which a large part of their social security contributions
will gradually be reallocated.
The selection process, which will run for four months, also makes
provision for employed individuals aged 35 to 40 to subscribe to a
private pension fund on a voluntary basis.