William Courtauld, CEO Asia, Fortis International

William Courtauld, CEO of Benelux banking and insurance group Fortis''s Asian operations, discusses a recent tie-up with Maybank and plans to develop the bancassurance business in Asia.

On May 10, Maybank and Fortis announced that they had entered negotiations to form a strategic partnership in bancassurance. Under the terms of the agreement, Fortis will purchase a 30% stake in Maybank's insurance businesses. The two hope that a tie-up between Malaysia's largest financial services group and the largest provider of bancassurance in the Benelux countries will prove a winning partnership against more established rivals in Malaysia's nascent insurance market.

For Fortis, the agreement marks its first major foray into Asia. Currently little known in the region, Fortis was created in 1990 out of a merger of the Dutch combination AMEVVSB with Belgian's largest insurer AG 1824. Since then, the group...

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