Global Wealthy Help Swiss Life Boost Quarterly Sales 11%

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Swiss Life Holding AG, Switzerland’s biggest life insurer, said first-quarter premiums rose 11 percent to 7.4 billion Swiss francs ($7.9 billion) as sales surged at a unit providing pensions to wealthy clients.

The unit, which serves high-net-worth customers globally from Luxembourg and Singapore, grew premiums by 50 percent to 606 million francs, Swiss Life said in a statement on Tuesday. Premium income in Switzerland rose 8 percent to 5.3 billion francs and declined 16 percent in Germany.

“Swiss Life got off to a good start in the first quarter,” Chief Executive Officer Patrick Frost said. “The fact that we had already achieved most of the goals under our ’Swiss Life 2015’ program in 2014 is helping us navigate an environment where interest rates have fallen to even lower levels.”

Swiss Life Asset Managers, the money-management division, attracted net new assets of 1.5 billion francs in the quarter. Swiss Life reported investment income of 1.1 billion euros, unchanged from the previous year, while the non-annualized direct investment yield fell to 0.7 percent on March 31 from 0.9 percent a year earlier.

Fee and commission income climbed 15 percent to 316 million francs.

Frost, former chief investment officer, is expanding in asset management and seeking to attract more wealthy clients to help boost profit. The company bought German real estate asset-manager Corpus Sireo last year. He is also seeking to cut costs and increase sales in Switzerland and France to help fend off low interest rates that curb investment returns.

Swiss Life lost 3 percent in Zurich trading this year, valuing the company at 7.4 billion francs. The Bloomberg Europe 500 Insurance Index rose 12 percent over the same period.

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