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FSA to address life settlements industry


The UK’s Financial Services Authority is set to give a keynote address on life settlements, an investment class on which it has previously given very few comments. 

Peter Smith, the regulator’s head of investment policy, will speak to the industry and potential investors on 24 February in London at the European Life Settlement Trade Mission, organised by the European Life Settlement Association and the US Life Insurance Settlement Association.

While the FSA regularly takes part in key financial services conferences, it is unusual for it to provide a focused discussion on a specific asset class, reflecting the growing interest in the market in life settlement investments.
Starting on 23 February, the four-day conference will begin with a two-day conference in London, before continuing to Luxembourg, and concluding in Zurich. It will bring together US and European life settlement professionals with interested investors to create a forum for discussion and development.
Life settlements turn unwanted US life insurance policies into tradable assets, which can be purchased and held in a diversified fund backed by many policies.  

Andrew Wilkins, executive director at Catalyst Investment Group and the retail spokesman for Elsa, says: “The FSA’s address indicates its recognition of the mounting interest within the market in life settlements. Once a little-known asset class, dominated by institutions, we have seen life settlements opened up to a hungry retail market looking for greater choice and increased diversification from their investments following the financial crisis. This is due to the character of life settlements, which provide valuable returns uncorrelated with traditional investments such as stocks, bonds or property.”
Several free places are available to qualifying professionals, including IFAs, discretionary wealth managers and institutional and hedge fund managers interested in longevity-based investments.

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