FINLAND – Financial services group Sampo-Leonia is closing its non-life insurance business in a corporate strategy shift towards domestic investment banking and life insurance.

The group says its new focus aims to profit from what it believes are the fastest growing areas in the Finnish market.

And as a result of the sea-change, the board will also propose to re-name the parent company Sampo, on April 5, at the group’s AGM.

However, the group’s corporate, retail banking and insurance businesses will begin using the Sampo brand - regardless of the AGM decision - in April.

Investment banking and private banking will use the Mandatum brand name – an investment bank acquired by the group at the end of last year.
Mutual funds will be labelled appropriately under either brand.

In tandem with the changing organisational structure, the board of directors has also made a raft of new management appointments.

Significantly, Björn Wahlroos will remain as CEO of the group with Kari Stadigh named deputy CEO and deputy managing director.
Kurt Landmark has been appointed executive vice president and head of investment banking.

“ The combination of the former Leonia and Sampo branch networks will be completed as soon as possible in order to make our service more efficient and increase cost savings. Also, Leonia's asset management service and Mandatum's branch network will be combined," says Björn Wahlroos, chief executive officer of Sampo-Leonia.

According to the new strategy plan, the group will now close for all new international non-life insurance.

In the Baltic area and Eastern Europe Sampo-Leonia will focus, for the time being, on finalising the take-overs of its current operations.

However, The group’s Central & East European group will cease to exist as an organisational unit. The Baltic banks, Optiva Pank in Estonia and Sampo Latvija in Latvia, will be merged with Sampo’s distribution division.

Sampo’s life and pension companies in Poland, which include the newly acquired Polish business of Norwich Union will also be integrated with the new life insurance unit.