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Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Syarikat Takaful Malaysia may tie up with foreign firms

SYARIKAT Takaful Malaysia Bhd, the country's largest and oldest Islamic insurer, is considering possible tie-ups with major foreign insurers keen on venturing into the takaful business in Malaysia. Group managing director Hassan Kamil said: “We have been approached by three to four major European insurers which have expressed interest to begin takaful operations in the country as takaful is a much sought-after licence in Malaysia. “We are the largest player domestically in Islamic insurance and probably one of the oldest takaful companies in the world.” Subject to regulations and formalities, the company may collaborate with them on a joint-venture basis, but at this time it is still at the discussion stage. The tie-ups, he said, would help the company to further fortify its takaful operations not only locally but overseas as well. Hassan also said Takaful Malaysia was looking to grow big in Indonesia, which has a huge untapped market and the largest Muslim population in the world. The company is talking to one of the largest local banks in Indonesia on the possibility of the latter acquiring a stake in its subsidiary P.T. Syarikat Takaful Indonesia. According to Hassan, the company hopes to seal a formal agreement with the bank by year-end. It has also lined up some potential investors for capital injection and merchant banks to look into this matter. Hassan also added that Britain was another market being eyed by Takaful Malaysia. “We have received various requests from Britain, including from the regulators, for us to meet up with several investors who are keen on Islamic insurance and we are at an early stage of discussion with some of them,” he said. “Britain will be a good springboard for us to penetrate into Eastern Europe, which has a relatively high Muslim population.” On the revamp of the company's management team, Hassan added that to date, it had already got the right pool of talent in the upper management level and was now looking at beefing up the middle management team in all areas.
This covers, among others, operations, information technology, finance and actuarial. The company hopes to complete this exercise by year-end. “Takaful Malaysia has a lot of good and talented people, but what we are doing is matching a person's ability and expertise with the right field or business area,'' he noted. - (Star, 13 Aug 07)
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