Hong Kong-based life insurance company FWD Group has signed an agreement for a majority stake in Gibraltar BSN Life Berhad (Gibraltar BSN).

The deal, whose financial terms were not disclosed, marks Fwd’s foray into the Malaysian life insurance market. 

Following the acquisition, which is expected to complete in the second quarter of 2023, FWD and other investors will collectively hold an effective 70% share of Gibraltar BSN.

The stake is being purchased from the US-based, NYSE-listed Prudential Financial‘s fully-owned subsidiary, Prudential Insurance Company of America.

The remaining 30% ownership interest in Gibraltar BSN will continue to be held by Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN).

Malaysia is believed to be a leading life insurance market by premium in Southeast Asia. 

FWD began offering family takaful products in Malaysia in March 2019. These plans include term life, critical illness, cancer, hospital cash benefit, and medical protection.

FWD group CEO and executive director Huynh Thanh Phong said: “We are creating a full-service offering in Malaysia and will be able to offer both family takaful and life insurance solutions in a rapidly growing market with huge long-term potential for growth. 

“We are excited to bring our digitally-enabled products and services to more people in Malaysia. With these strategic developments, we also substantially complete our footprint across key Southeast Asia markets in the 10th anniversary year for FWD Group.”

FWD intends to collaborate with BSN to develop and grow Gibraltar BSN and later rebrand the Gibraltar BSN business.

In December 2022, media reports emerged that Richard Li, who owns FWD, is looking to invest $200m in it to drive growth ahead of its initial public offering (IPO).