Study Shows We Need To Start Saving Longer For Retirement

Retirement PiggieIf you’re currently retired, chances are you worked hard to ensure that your retirement would be financially stable. For those who are currently working, this will be even more of a challenge. According to a new HSBC study, working people of today are expecting to spend much more time saving for retirement. Researchers interviewed more than 18,200 people across 17 countries either face-to-face or online. Through this research, HSBC discovered that workers in the U.S. now believe they will have to save for an average of three decades in order to feel financially secure for retirement. That’s seven years more than the previous generation had to save.

Investors have started to shift the way they think about retirement after seeing the challenges of those who have retired or who haven’t planned effectively for retirement. A large number of people in their forties are supporting other people, such as their children and their aging parents. These people and the people who are watching them are becoming aware that they need to take an active role in preparing for retirement.  

The UK’s citizens are especially concerned about their economic future after the Brexit. It is too early to decide what the long-term of the impact of the Brexit will be. That said, pre-retirees should always be ready for potential financial turmoil. In fact, global growth and an ageing population are causing concerns about the retirement of future generations all around the world.

HSBC’s research, which was conducted prior to the Brexit vote, shows that the U.K has pre-retirees expecting to save for an additional seven years, just like the U.S. The country whose working community is expected the struggle the most is China, where pre-retirees are expecting to save for an additional 14 years, bringing their total up from 9 years to 23 years.

The United Arab Emirates, France, Hong Kong, and Australia, are also expected to suffer, with each average working citizen planning to save for an additional 10 years or more. Indonesia, on the other hand, is the only country that doesn’t expect to save for any longer than it currently does.

In addition to an increase in the amount of time working people will need to dedicate to saving for retirement, there is also a shift in the ways that working people intend to save. Instead of traditional state pensions, workers are looking to alternative saving methods such as personal pension schemes, cash savings and deposits, and downsizing or selling property. Over a third of the working population stated that they wish they’d begun saving earlier on. Twenty-four percent said they hadn’t begun savings. This group included 12 percent of people in their sixties who were studied. However, the working population is getting overall more financially conscious. But this doesn’t mean they are free of worries. Forty two percent of people who are saving to prepare for retirement admitted to having stopped or having faced challenges.

While people save in different ways, it is important that individuals start saving for retirement as early as possible. In addition, it is important to get advice from professionals and to consider the essential retirement expenses. But the most important piece of advice for retirement savings is to always be prepared for ups and downs.

Lower Premium Volumes Don’t Stop AIG’s Profit From Rising

AIGFor the second quarter, American International Group Inc (AIG) posted a 6.3% increase in net income while it intentionally shrank the amount of insurance sold. This was all part of a plan to satisfy activist investors and to bolster returns. AIG also cut costs dramatically in order to bring down the expense ratio in its property-casualty insurance operations. This process allows AIG to follow through on a promise made in a January 26 strategy update.

Despite its valiant efforts, AIG’s operating income fell 41%. This was likely due to a sharply higher level of claims for catastrophes at a time when interest rates led to upward adjustments of certain claims reserves. At the time the interests were lower than in the year-earlier period.

The per-share operating result beat the consensus expectation of analysts. However, there will definitely be efforts to gain sight of ways that AIG can improve its sluggish performance in the stock market.

Analysts are hoping to get more detail on AIG’s promise to return at least $35 billion in share buybacks and dividends through 2017. This ambitious goal is likely to be filled partially from divestitures as well as possibly through a public offering later this year.

AIG has stated that it returned $3.2 billion of capital to stockholders during the second quarter and had purchased $698 million of common stock since the end of the quarter. Its year-to-date return of capital totals to about $7.9 billion. In a separate release, the board said that it would add $3 billion to its stock buyback plan.

Recently AIG has reported that the volume of selling casualty and property insurance to business clients decreased by 21%. This is AIG’s core area of business and was being monitored very closely. This decrease was mostly due to AIG’s choice not to renew policies in certain product lines that weren’t performing well. In addition, AIG refused to lower prices for potential buyers despite the fact that rivals were intensely competing for business.

In one year, AIG’s net income increased from $1.68 billion to $1.91 billion. To put it in terms of shares, that’s an increase from $1.32 a share to $1.68 a share. AIG recently received $928 million of gains from selling shares in PICC Property & Casualty Co. in China. In the same period of time, operating income decreased from $1.89 billion, which is $1.39 a share, to $1.11 billion, which is 98 cents a share. Analysts were predicting 93 cents a share.

In the earning release, AIG Chief Executive Peter Hancock stated that the results demonstrate a big step toward the goals set by AIG’s board in January. He also said that their confidence was high that they would hit financial targets set for 2017.

Messrs. Paulson and Icahn advocated a three-way split before they joined the board because they felt this would help AIG escape its designation as a “ systemically important institution” by federal regulators. This designation makes AIG subject to capital that is to-be-determined, as well as other rules.

Mr. Hancock still feels that a split is not in the best interest of the shareholders. In the January update, he promised to reorganize AIG’s life-insurance and property-casualty operations into nine units. He also promised to cut costs more sharply and to return more capital to shareholders and potentially sell any business that doesn’t performs suitably. There’s no telling exactly what will happen, but it looks like there’s an exciting year ahead for AIG.

Alphabet to buy AIG? Analysts think it’s a good idea.

American International Group, or AIG, is one of the nation’s leading insurance companies. Over the past several months, analysts from Citigroup have discussed the idea of a possible merger between AIG and Alphabet, the parent company of Google. On paper, connections between the two seemed unfathomable, but upon further inspection, the partnership could be a positive one. If Alphabet were to partner with a large investment bank and purchase the insurance company, they could turn it from various insurance policies to an insurance FinTech laboratory.

Founded in 1919 by Cornelius Vander Starr, AIG traces it’s roots back to Shanghai, China. Starting as American Asiatic Underwriters, the company expanded and, within the first two years of operations, evolved into a life insurance company. Within the next decade, various branches emerged throughout different parts of China and Southeast Asia, followed by the first official American opening in 1926. The company was renamed the American International Underwriters Corporation (AIU) and growth in Latin America occurred afterwards. The growth in these agencies was substantial, as World War II loomed on the horizon, which correlated to the decline of business in Asia. As a result of these historical events, AIU moved it’s headquarters to New York City from Shanghai, China after 20 years.

With its long history, AIG’s merger with Google seemed unlikely. Analysts acknowledged it was an event that most likely would not occur, but one that could benefit everyone. The copious amounts of data AIG owns could be appealing to Alphabet, while having a parent company to help protect AIG from battles that could arise over the upcoming years could benefit AIG.

According to an article published by Quartz, the analysts developed their proposal around two main points. The first was a modular finance model. This is would shift financial institutions from what they do – selling a portfolio of products to consumers – to using technology to develop offerings that were complex on a whim. The second addresses the lack of disrupting insurance companies. Many companies focused on tech shy away from companies that focus on insurance because of the strict regulations that come with their industry.

Alphabet obtaining AIG for their portfolio could address both points. There are several challenges if this occurs, such as issues with shareholders and banks, but it could be worth the risk. AIG’s CEO, Peter Hancock, spoke about how the company’s new modules. Nine in all, were based off Alphabet’s business structure.

 

AIG Restructures Management

Ever since Peter Hancock took over the role of Chief Executive Officer of American International Group, Inc., there have been some profound management changes. His most recent alteration included having the company’s Chief Financial Officer, David Herzog, leave the company. Herzog is being replaced by the Chief Risk Officer, Sid Sankaran. Another recent change is the stepping down of the Head of Commercial Insurance, John Doyle, with CEO of the Americas, Rob Schimek, taking over.

The reason that the leadership began to be dramatically restructured when Hancock took over last September had to do with AIG’s results. For years, the company has had high claims costs, and the company was forced to recover from a bailout around the year 2008. Hancock announced during that time that he wanted to dismiss at least 23% of the people in leadership positions.

He is following through with the plan, but whether or not the restructuring will be beneficial to the company as a whole is still a question.

Herzog’s departure was more of a shock than that of Doyle. Doyle was not getting expected results in his position, but Herzog was a real asset to the company. He was recognized as a great CFO by the United States Treasury Department, and helped pull AIG out of their bailout. Many experts believe that asking Herzog to leave was a mistake by Hancock. However, the rumor is that Herzog will take the millions he made in his position at AIG and retire, although he has not commented on the matter

Activist investors are trying to force Hancock to break up the company into smaller parts, and that is exactly what Hancock is trying to avoid. The investor Carl Icahn has been especially vocal on this matter. He has the idea that AIG should have a life insurance sector, a property coverage sector, and a mortgage sector, all separate from one another. Hancock has not adhered to this demand.

Many other changes are taking place on the leadership level of AIG. The leadership team as a whole is becoming a lot smaller, and those already in leadership positions are taking on more responsibility in the United States and overseas.

Will this leadership overhaul help AIG in the long run? Only time will tell. It is my opinion that AIG has been suffering, so large change is necessary to pull the company out of its slump. Whether or not Hancock is taking the right approach remains to be seen.

For more information on Hancock’s plan, check out Insurance Journal.