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New York Targets Apollo Insurance Deal

  • Apollo portfolio company in $1.55 billion annuity bid
  • Regulator fears annuity holders could be at risk
  • Tougher disclosure and capital requirements weighed

Benjamin Lawsky, the superintendent of the New York Department of Financial Services, which has launched a review, is concerned that private equity firms’ insurance ventures could place annuity holders at risk. The New York agency is in talks with Apollo on a series of tougher disclosure and capital requirements that do not apply to traditional insurers, the paper said, citing people familiar with the matter.

Athene agreed to buy the U.S. operations of Aviva for $1.55 billion last year.

Regulators have expressed concerns about rules that govern insurance companies with ties to private-equity firms and other investment firms and suggested that they must be subjected to greater oversight than traditional insurers to protect policy holders’ funds.

Investment firms say they follow the same regulations that govern traditional insurers. “We are cooperating fully” with Lawsky’s agency, Athene’s Chief Executive James Belardi told the Journal. Representatives for Apollo and Aviva declined to comment to the paper.

Fixed annuities are a type of insurance contract that guarantee the investor a minimum monthly payment.

None of the parties were immediately available for comment, when contacted by Reuters.