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Friday 29 August 2014

Aviva unit begins big move from Dublin to London

Laura Noonan

Published 07/04/2011 | 05:00

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UK INSURANCE giant Aviva has begun the process of dismantling its Dublin-based European holding company, the Irish Independent has learned.

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The news comes less than two years after Aviva announced plans to unite businesses from across the Continent under 'Aviva Europe SE'.

Employees at Aviva have recently been told that the European structure, which saw individual countries operate branches instead of subsidiaries, was being overhauled.

A spokeswoman confirmed that Aviva was now aiming for "strong, locally capitalised entities within individual markets" instead of holding capital centrally through Aviva SE.

Aviva has already filed papers to move the remaining Aviva SE from Dublin to London, and the process is expected to be completed within weeks.

The spokeswoman said the decision to hold capital locally instead of centrally was "in line with our customers' increased focus on security and peace of mind".

The decision to move the remaining Aviva SE operation to London was attributed to efforts to "simplify" Aviva's "corporate governance structure".

The spokeswoman stressed that there would be no impact on Aviva's staff numbers here, and that the Dublin-based European product manufacturing hub would remain in place.

The Europe rowback follows the recent defection of Aviva Europe boss Andre Monett, which many commentators said was linked to a clash over the European strategy. The last two chief executives of Aviva's Irish business, Jim Dowdall and Stuart Purdy, were also appointed to senior roles at Aviva Europe, but went on to step down.

Insurers from all over the world have been setting up headquarters and holding companies in Ireland in recent years, as they re-organise their structures to get optimal benefit from new capital rules dubbed Solvency II.

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