Phoenix, Financial Management Group
Investment team of the year - insurer
Insurance Asset Risk Awards 2019 - UK & Europe

Since mid-2017, Phoenix's financial management group (FMG), which is charged with developing the group's investment strategy, secured the sourcing of roughly £2bn of private illiquid assets which constituted a tripling of its previous allocation. This enabled the group to return £300m in cash to shareholders in the first half of 2018.

"FMG has led Phoenix's direct sourcing of illiquid assets which is integral to our corporate strategy. FMG has built a strong reputation for clarity, integrity, prompt feedback and openness," said Scott Robertson, head of FMG at Phoenix Group.

"The success of this approach can be demonstrated by the diversity of the origination in 2018, over 20 private deals, five times more than 2017, across different sectors and structures including forward starting, CPI linked, wrapped issuance and amortising structures," he added.

Other key moments across the year included the hedging of shareholder exposure through the Standard Life deal to generate capital synergies of £400m and harmonising the investment strategy of Phoenix and Abbey Life to deliver a further £200m in cash.

Those achievements, along with providing support to the wider Group's entry into the Bulk Purchase Annuity market, are made all the more impressive by the fact that the FMG function only received its first mandate to source private assets just over 18 months ago.

Praising FMG for delivering added value to shareholders amid the challenging background of the Standard Life and Abbey Life transactions, the judges were impressed by its strong performance.