MetLife, Inc. (MET)
September 12, 2012 12:30 am ET
Christopher Townsend - Head of Asia Region
John McCallion - Head of Investor Relations and Vice President
Jeffrey R. Schuman - Keefe, Bruyette, & Woods, Inc., Research Division
Thomas G. Gallagher - Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division
Christopher Giovanni - Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division
A. Mark Finkelstein - Evercore Partners Inc., Research Division
Edward A. Spehar - BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division
Suneet L. Kamath - UBS Investment Bank, Research Division
Steven D. Schwartz - Raymond James & Associates, Inc., Research Division
Sean Dargan - Macquarie Research
Eric N. Berg - RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division
Ryan Krueger - Dowling & Partners Securities, LLC
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to MetLife 2012 Asia Investor Day. Please welcome, MetLife's Vice President of Investor Relations, John McCallion.
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So before I invite Chris up to give a brief overview, let me just run through the agenda for the day. So Bill Hogan and his team will give a run -- overview of the Japan operations, and then we'll take a 10-minute break. And then I'll ask Jong Kim and Bob Pei to come up, and they'll discuss our Korea and China operations, respectively. And then Toby Brown, our CFO of Asia will wrap up the day and presentation. We'll take another quick 10-minute break, and then we'll come back and we'll have one Q&A at the end to go through and give you a chance to ask some questions of our presenters.
So as you know, Chris Townsend just joined us in the beginning of August. Prior to that, he spent 21 years at Chartist, half of those -- half of that time, he was in the Asia-Pacific region. And most recently, was the Chief Executive officer of Asia Pacific for Chartist. So it's my pleasure to introduce our President of Asia, Chris Townsend.
Thank you, John, and good afternoon. So let me first of all add my personal welcome to all of you to Tokyo, and for those of you who have traveled a great distance, thank you. We really do appreciate it. Now before I pass over to the team, my job really is just to spend a few minutes talking broadly about Asia, and explaining how this part of the world fits into the overall enterprise strategy that Steve shared with you at Investor Day back in May. And as you'll note very soon, a number of the slides I'm going to use are identical to the ones Steve used, and that's no coincidence, it's intentional. So I want to reiterate the fact that I'm not looking to make wholesale changes to the business, I'm looking to execute on the agreed company strategy, which has already been hopefully, clearly articulated through to you.
So I don't have anything with MetLife with the 6 weeks now. I would suggest that whilst I've been doing my own due diligence on being on a listing source for the most of that time, I really do believe that we are coming into this in a position of strength and with a great platform to further grow our business profitably in the region. So my goal is to make sure we're executing on that agreed company strategy, and to continue all the good work, particularly in Japan, we've done at integrating the Alico business to MetLife Group from AIG Group to MetLife.
So let me first discuss with you our company strategy. The first point to note is the circle in the middle here. We are One MetLife, a truly global company, moving very much towards a global mindset. And clearly, that's going to take some time, because we've been a significant U.S.-centric organization for many, many years, but I believe we're moving in that direction quickly and with great purpose. This global mindset really is the reason we broke the company down into 3 parts a while ago, and that's obviously the Americas, EMEA and the part that John has announced too, that being Asia.
The final foundational principle that Steve discussed is the need really for us to leverage our global scale. So there has to be a fundamental benefit of being big. We need to make it truly matter through all of our constituents, be it our shareholders, our customers, our employees, and of course, our distribution partners. So it's really about making sure that we create and maintain value.
So with those fundamental principles as a backdrop, let me just walk around the 4 individual strategic pillars to make sure you understand how it hangs together and how it resonates with us here in Asia.
The first, obviously is top left-hand corner there is to refocus the U.S. Business, and I think Bill in his team have been very clear with you in terms of how we're achieving that balance between profitable returns and growth, so they've already made some great progress in that work. The second one is top right-hand corner, building the global employee benefit business. Maria Morris is leveraging all of the great talent and expertise we have in the U.S. business to bring that to a number of the larger global insurance markets in which we operate. And again, I think they've had some good wins to their credit. So I look forward to being a very helpful partner to Maria, and that ambition on behalf of Asia.
Michel Khalaf discussed our emerging market strategy, not only for his business in EMEA, but on behalf of the entire organization. And I would just like to add my support to that, but I think we've got a wonderful opportunity in the emerging markets in this part of the world, obviously, China being front and center of that, but also in a number of the other markets which we'll talk a bit about later, where we don't currently have an operation.
And then finally, we talked about driving customer centricity and creating a global brand, and you're going to hear a lot more from this -- about this from Bill with regards to Japan and Jong for Korea, and I really believe that this is very much one of the keys to success in this part of the world.
So turning to the next slide, let me just start to articulate some of the macro -- or the macro changes we're seeing within the region. So first and foremost, we're continually seeing governments shifting a lot of the social welfare burden on to individuals. We're seeing an aging population, which are more and more in need of health solutions. And obviously, a growing middle class in emerging markets and again, China is front and center of that, which means protection products. So the good thing for us about all 3 of those broad dynamics is that it plays into our current capabilities and our skill set that we have in the region and all can create value for us longer-term.
So our strategy to take advantage of those developing opportunities, really, is to grow our accident and health solutions in the region, and to the really leverage our multichannel distribution network with -- as the newcomer coming into the organization, I really believe that the strength of ours is something, which sets us apart from our peers.
In terms of the numbers, just to give you a quick snap shot of the business we have today, overall for Asia, you see we have operating revenue of USD 9 billion. But more importantly, nearly $900 million of operating earnings. In Japan, we're the #2 foreign life insurer, and #2 in accident and health products. We're the #1 foreign life insurer in Korea. And we continue to our presence in China, which again, is a key emerging market for us. We just called out the 2 most important markets for us in the region, that being Japan and Korea, both that you would appreciate are mature markets and we manage them accordingly and appropriately.
So Japan is the second-largest market for the MetLife [indiscernible] in the United States. And we've got strong growth in some high-margin products, despite the challenging environment, and we look at Japan very much as a cornerstone or launch pad for us for the rest of our Asia strategy. And Bill is obviously going to talk more about that very shortly.
If we turn to Korea, it's our fourth biggest market in the world. And we're using a diverse distribution platform there centered around a strong career agency force, which has been the backbone of our business there for a couple decades. If you look at Korea, obviously, the aging population does create a significant opportunity for us in the accident health products, and since we've launched those, we've had some very good success from those products, and Jong Kim will talk to you those in more detail to explain how they're working.
We discussed the emerging markets in Asia. We are a top 5 insurance play in both direct marketing and bancassurance in China. You'll see from the footnote there, that 2011 data, and having spent most of last there, I'm pleased to tell you that the actual numbers, since that, and for the first part of 2012, shows a much better light, so what we're doing is working well in China. We're also expanding the agency model in the more Chinese provinces, the more cities, and then Bob Pei will explain how we've taken advantage of the opportunities in China.
Also as you probably know, there are a number of high-growth markets throughout Southeast Asia. Steve indicated to you at the Investor Day that we are looking to enter some of those markets where appropriate, either organically or inorganically, but this just to make sure we manage your expectation, we're not going to talk about those in our prepared remarks but we'll obviously respond to any questions you have in the Q&A session later on.
So let me just try to, first, to pull this together for you in terms of the key takeaways, it's what really we want you to know for our business in Asia. First and foremost, Asia is the key market for the MetLife, representing roughly, 20% of the company's earnings in 2011 and clearly, it intended to be a very strong contributor for each of the 2016 goals and aspirations that have been outlined to you.
As you see, we have a growing market share in the mature markets of Japan and Korea, but more importantly, we're doing this very much through a disciplined approach, focused on the bottom line and achieving the appropriate risk adjusted reward. So you always see us create volume for value. Finally, we will continue to pursue organic and inorganic opportunities in the emerging markets. So with that as an intro, let me introduce Bill Hogan, who will talk you through the Japan story. Bill?
Thank you, Chris. The opportunity here in Japan for meaningful future growth under the combined strength of Alico in Japan and MetLife, we are uniquely positioned in the industry, with a broad product line up and a long history of working with our 4 major distribution channels. Developing 4 distribution channels of the size and scale that we have, has not been easy and it requires significant investment, lots of patience, and managing channel conflict. Many of our competitors are just working through these issues today. While a multidistribution platform allows us access to a broad customer base, our broad product portfolio allows us to best serve the total customer needs. And also, to not be tied or compelled to grow product that have become less profitable or more risky. We can effectively be selective in what products we choose to sell over the longer-term.