Aviva’s new chief executive Amanda Blanc puts £1m of her money behind turnaround

The new boss of Aviva today stuck her money behind her revival of the insurance giant, spending £1 million on its shares.

Amanda Blanc has bought up 324,887 at a little over 300p a share, two months after her appointment at the FTSE 100 life and general insurer.

Aviva’s share price crashed at the start of the pandemic, from 404p to as low as 211p but has crept back up a little since. Today the stock edged down 3.9p at 299.3p.

Blanc is attempting to revive the share price after predecessor Maurice Tulloch’s restructuring plan, which stopped short of major sell-offs, failed to impress investors. Tulloch himself had replaced Mark Wilson, who exited after failing to get the stock motoring.

The Welshwoman has acted fast to focus the company on its core markets, namely the UK, Ireland and Canada amid criticism that the company operated in too many countries and sectors.

On Friday the company said it was offloading its Singapore business to a consortium led by Singapore Life, for S$2.7 billion ($1.98 billion).

It will sell its majority shareholding in the business to the Singlife consortium, which includes alternative asset firm TPG, Japanese insurer Sumitomo Life and other existing Singlife shareholders.

Blanc said on Friday: “The sale of Aviva Singapore is a significant first step in our new strategy to bring greater focus to Aviva’s portfolio.”

The deal, one of the biggest in insurance in Southeast Asia, comes at a time when Singlife has been looking to expand in the region.

TPG will become the largest shareholder in the new group, which will initially be branded as Aviva Singlife in Singapore, with a 35% stake. Aviva will retain a 25% equity stake, with another 20% going to Sumitomo.

The rest will be held by other investors in Singlife, which started operations in Singapore in 2017, and has snapped up customers with its digital offerings.

Jefferies analysts said: “We believe this constitutes exceptional value creation for the group (Aviva) and represents clear delivery from the new CEO Amanda Blanc on her promise for decisive action.”