Capital management

C. Capital management

C.1 Regulatory capital (IGD)


Prudential is subject to the capital adequacy requirements of the European Union Insurance Groups Directive (IGD) as implemented by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) in the UK. The IGD capital adequacy requirements involve aggregating surplus capital calculated on a FSA consistent basis for regulated subsidiaries, from which Group borrowings, except those subordinated debt issues that qualify as capital, are deducted. No credit for the benefit of diversification is permitted under this approach.

Prudential’s capital position remains strong. Prudential has continued to place emphasis on maintaining the Group’s financial strength through optimising the balance between writing profitable new business, conserving capital and generating cash. Prudential estimates that its IGD capital surplus is £5.1 billion at 31 December 2012 (before taking into account the 2012 final dividend), with available capital covering its capital requirements 3.0 times. This compares to a capital surplus of £4.0 billion at the end of 2011 (before taking into account the 2011 final dividend).

The movements in 2012 mainly comprise:

  • Net capital generation mainly through operating earnings (in-force releases less investment in new business, net of tax) of £2.5 billion.

Offset by:

  • Negative impact arising from market movements estimated at £0.2 billion;
  • Final 2011 dividend of £0.5 billion and interim 2012 dividend of £0.2 billion;
  • External financing costs and other central costs, net of tax, of £0.4 billion; and
  • Negative impact arising from foreign exchange movements of £0.1 billion.

IGD surplus represents the accumulation of surpluses across all of our operations based on local regulatory minimum capital requirements with some adjustments, pursuant to the requirements of Solvency I. The calculation does not fully adjust capital requirements for risk nor does it capture the true economic value of assets. Global regulatory developments, such as Solvency II and ComFrame, aim to ensure that the calculation of regulatory surplus continues to evolve over time into a more meaningful economic measure.

There is broad agreement that ultimately it would be beneficial to replace the IGD regime with a regime that would be more risk based. Solvency II was supposed to provide such a framework but we now know that it will not be implemented before 31 December 2015. The structure of the Group and the approach we have taken to managing our risks, with a sizeable credit reserve in the UK annuity book, a strong inherited estate in UK with profits and the relatively low risk nature of our asset management and Asian operations, together with a high level of IGD surplus, means we have positioned ourselves well for future regulatory developments and stresses to our business.


In March 2013, we have agreed with the FSA to amend the calculation of the contribution Jackson makes to the Group’s IGD surplus. Until now, the contribution of Jackson to the reported IGD was based on an intervention level set at 75 per cent of US Risk-Based Capital Company Action Level (CAL). Going forward, the contribution of Jackson to IGD surplus will equal the surplus in excess of 250 per cent of CAL. This is more in line with the level at which we currently report free surplus, which we have set at 235 per cent of CAL. In the absence of an agreed Solvency II approach, we believe that this change makes the IGD surplus a more meaningful measure and one that is more closely aligned with economic reality. The revised IGD surplus calculation has no impact on the way that the US business is managed or regulated locally.


On this revised basis, the IGD surplus at 28 February 2013 is estimated at £4.4 billion1 (equivalent to a capital cover of 2.5 times) which includes the £0.4 billion of subordinated debt raised in January 2013 and is after deducting £1.3 billion in respect of the Jackson change from 75 per cent to 250 per cent of CAL.

Prudential continues to have further options available to manage available and required capital. These could take the form of increasing available capital (for example, through financial reinsurance) or reducing required capital (for example, through the mix and level of new business) and the use of other risk mitigation measures such as hedging and reinsurance. A number of such options were utilised through the last financial crisis in 2008 and 2009 to enhance the Group’s IGD surplus. One such arrangement allowed the Group to recognise a proportion of the shareholder’s interest in future transfers from the UK’s with-profits business and this remained in place, contributing £0.36 billion to the IGD at 31 December 2012. We will phase this out in two equal steps, reducing the credit taken to £0.18 billion from January 2013 and we expect to take zero credit from January 2014.

In addition to its strong capital position, on a statutory (Pillar 1) basis, the total credit reserve for the UK shareholder annuity funds also protects its capital position in excess of the IGD surplus. This credit reserve as at 31 December 2012 was £2.1 billion. This credit risk allowance represents 40 per cent of the bond portfolio spread over swap rates, compared to 33 per cent as at 31 December 2011.

Stress testing


As at 31 December 2012, stress testing of our IGD capital position to various events has the following results:

  • An instantaneous 20 per cent fall in equity markets from 31 December 2012 levels would reduce the IGD surplus by £450 million;
  • A 40 per cent fall in equity markets (comprising an instantaneous 20 per cent fall followed by a further 20 per cent fall over a four-week period) would reduce the IGD surplus by £950 million;
  • A 100 basis points reduction (subject to a floor of zero) in interest rates would reduce the IGD surplus by £850 million*; and
  • Credit defaults of ten times the expected level would reduce IGD surplus by £700 million.

Prudential believes that the results of these stress tests, together with the Group’s strong underlying earnings capacity, its established hedging programmes and its additional areas of financial flexibility, demonstrate that it is in a position to withstand significant deterioration in market conditions.

Prudential also uses an economic capital assessment to monitor its capital requirements across the Group, allowing for realistic diversification benefits and continues to maintain a strong position. This assessment provides valuable insights into its risk profile.

C.2 Solvency II and other global regulatory developments


The European Union (EU) is developing a new solvency framework for insurance companies, referred to as ‘Solvency II’. The Solvency II Directive, which sets out the new framework, was formally approved by the Economic and Financial Affairs Council in November 2009. The new approach is based on the concept of three pillars – minimum capital requirements, supervisory review of firms’ assessments of risk, and enhanced disclosure requirements.

Specifically, Pillar 1 covers the quantitative requirements around own funds, valuation rules for assets and liabilities and capital requirements. Pillar 2 provides the qualitative requirements for risk management, governance and controls, including the requirement for insurers to submit an Own Risk and Solvency Assessment which will be used by the regulator as part of the supervisory review process. Pillar 3 deals with the enhanced requirements for supervisory reporting and public disclosure.

A key aspect of Solvency II is that the assessment of risks and capital requirements are intended to be aligned more closely with economic capital methodologies and may allow Prudential to make use of internal economic capital models if approved by the relevant supervisory authority.

Representatives from the European Parliament, the European Commission and the Council of the European Union are currently discussing the Omnibus II Directive which, once approved, will amend certain aspects of the original Solvency II Directive. In addition the European Commission is continuing to develop, in consultation with stakeholders including industry, the detailed rules that will complement the high-level principles of the Directive, referred to as ‘implementing measures’. The Omnibus II Directive is not currently scheduled to be finalised until late 2013, while the implementing measures cannot be finalised until after Omnibus II.

There is a significant uncertainty regarding the final outcome from this process. In particular, the Solvency II rules relating to the determination of the liability discount rate and to the treatment of US business remain unclear and Prudential’s capital position is sensitive to these outcomes. With reference to the liability discount rate, solutions to remove artificial volatility from the balance sheet have been suggested by policymakers as the regulations continue to evolve. These solutions, along with transitional arrangements for the treatment of the US business, are continuing to be considered by policymakers as part of the process to reach agreement on the Omnibus II Directive. There is a risk that the effect of the measures finally adopted could be adverse for Prudential, including potentially that a significant increase in capital may be required to support its business and that Prudential may be placed at a competitive disadvantage to other European and non-European financial services groups. Prudential is actively participating in shaping the outcome through our involvement in industry bodies and trade associations, including the Chief Risk Officer and Chief Financial Officer Forums, together with the Association of British Insurers and Insurance Europe (formerly known as the Comité Européen des Assurances).

The delays in finalising the Omnibus II Directive and implementing measures are expected to result in a deferral of the Solvency II implementation date for firms beyond the previously anticipated date of 1 January 2014. At this stage, it remains unclear exactly when Solvency II will come into force, although a deferral until 1 January 2016 or beyond appears likely.

Having assessed the requirements of Solvency II, an implementation programme was initiated with dedicated teams to manage the required work across the Group. The activity of the local Solvency II teams is being coordinated centrally to achieve consistency in the understanding and application of the requirements. Prudential is continuing its preparations to adopt the regime when it eventually comes into force and is undertaking in parallel an evaluation of the possible actions to mitigate its effects. Prudential regularly reviews its range of options to maximise the strategic flexibility of the Group. This includes consideration of optimising the Group’s domicile as a possible response to an adverse outcome on Solvency II.

Over the coming months Prudential will remain in regular contact with the FSA as it continues to engage in the ‘pre-application’ stage of the approval process for the internal model. In addition, Prudential also expects to engage in the initial stage of the FSA’s proposed ‘Individual Capital Adequacy Standards Plus (ICAS+)’ regime, which will ultimately enable its UK insurance entities to leverage the developments made in relation to the Solvency II internal model for the purpose of meeting existing ICAS regime.

Currently there are also a number of other prospective global regulatory developments which could impact the way in which Prudential is supervised in its many jurisdictions. These include the Dodd-Frank Act in the US, the work of the Financial Stability Board (FSB) on Globally Systemically Important Financial Institutions (G-SIFIs) and the Common Framework for the Supervision of Internationally Active Insurance Groups (ComFrame) being developed by the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS).

The Dodd-Frank Act represents a comprehensive overhaul of the financial services industry within the United States that, among other reforms to financial services entities, products and markets, may subject financial institutions designated as systemically important to heightened prudential and other requirements intended to prevent or mitigate the impact of future disruptions in the US financial system. The full impact of the Dodd-Frank Act on Prudential’s businesses is not currently clear, however, as many of its provisions have a delayed effectiveness and/or require rulemaking or other actions by various US regulators over the coming years.

As part of a global initiative to identify G-SIFIs, in May 2012, the IAIS published proposed assessment methodology for designating Globally Systemically Important Insurers (G-SIIs). For those groups that are designated by the FSB as G-SII then additional policy measures including enhanced supervision, introduction of recovery and resolution plans and higher loss absorbency requirements could be proposed. Further detail of the proposals is expected during 2013 and implementation is likely to be over a period of years. Furthermore, the FSA is considering the designation of Domestically Systemically Important Insurer (DSII) for those UK insurers that are significant in UK terms. It is not yet clear what the impact of this designation may be.

ComFrame is also being developed by the IAIS to provide common global requirements for supervision of insurance groups. The framework is designed to develop common principles for supervision and so may increase the focus of regulators in some jurisdictions. It is also possible that some prescriptive requirements, including group capital, could be proposed. Further clarity on ComFrame is expected during the second half of 2013.

C.3 Capital allocation


Prudential’s approach to capital allocation is to attain a balance between risk and return, investing in those businesses that create shareholder value. In order to efficiently allocate capital, Prudential measures the use of, and the return on, capital.

Prudential uses a variety of metrics for measuring capital performance and profitability, including traditional accounting metrics and economic returns. Capital allocation decisions are supported by this quantitative analysis, as well as strategic considerations.

The economic framework measures risk adjusted returns on economic capital, a methodology that ensures meaningful comparison across the Group. Capital utilisation, return on capital and new business value creation are measured at the product level as part of the business planning process.

C.4 Risk mitigation and hedging


Prudential manages its actual risk profile against its tolerance of risk. To do this, Prudential maintains risk registers that include details of the risks Prudential has identified and of the controls and mitigating actions it employs in managing them. Any mitigation strategies involving large transactions such as a material derivative transaction involving shareholder business are subject to review at Group level before implementation.

Prudential uses a range of risk management and mitigation strategies. The most important of these include: adjusting asset portfolios to reduce investment risks (such as duration mismatches or overweight counterparty exposures); using derivatives to hedge market risks; implementing reinsurance programmes to manage insurance risk; implementing corporate insurance programmes to limit the impact of operational risks; and revising business plans where appropriate.


  1. The estimated position at 28 February 2013 allows for economic conditions and surplus generation since 31 December 2012 and is stated before the final dividend and the effect of the Thanachart acquisition and after allowing for a reduction in Jackson’s contribution to IGD surplus of £1.3 billion.

* The impact of the 100 basis points reduction in interest rates is exacerbated by the current regulatory permitted practice used by Jackson, which values all interest rate swaps at book value rather than fair value for regulatory purposes. At 31 December 2012, removing the permitted practice would have increased reported IGD surplus by £0.3 billion. As at 31 December 2012, it is estimated that a 100 basis point reduction in interest rates (subject to a floor of zero) would have resulted in an IGD surplus of £4.9 billion, excluding the permitted practice. The effect of the revised calculation of Jackson’s contribution to IGD surplus as at 31 December 2012 would have been to increase the sensitivity to equity market falls by approximately £50 million.


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