Life insurance consolidator hires Phoenix M&A boss

Life insurance consolidator hires Phoenix M&A boss

Chesnara, a pensions and protection consolidator, has hired Phoenix’s mergers and acquisitions boss, Sam Perowne, to head up its own M&A team.

From April 2022, Perowne will join Chesnara’s group executive committee, and be responsible for acquisitions of life and pensions businesses as strategic development and investor relations chief. 

The firm has been sitting on £120m in liquid resources for M&A deals this year, and used the war chest in September to buy Sanlam's pension business for £39m.

“We are delighted to welcome Sam to Chesnara,” said Steve Murray, the consolidator’s group chief executive.

“He brings a wealth of experience across insurance and has been integral to much of the back book consolidation activity seen in the UK.  

“His capabilities in M&A, wider strategic development and investor relations strongly align with our focus at Chesnara and will help ensure we are well placed to pursue the acquisition opportunities we continue to see.”

Perowne leaves Phoenix following acquisitions of its own, including that of ReAssure, which saw its operating profit jump to £1.2bn last year, up from £810m in 2019.

This month, Phoenix created a corporate development director role to drive its growth through M&A.

Over at Chesnara, Perowne isn’t the only new appointment in recent months. Murray, previously Royal London’s chief commercial officer, was approved by regulators to take over from outgoing chief executive John Deane in October.

FTAdviser spoke to Deane back in August, when he described Chesnara as a “patient buyer”.

“This is a very long-term business,” Deane explained. “What we generate is a steady cash flow. We hold about two years of future dividends in our bank account.”

What Chesnara buys it keeps and amalgamates into its existing business. Murray said Covid-19 has created time for the firm to review its portfolios thus far and spot new opportunities.