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2 August 2006

In a strategic move to strengthen its foothold in the wealth management business, Baiduri Bank signed a bancassuarance agreement today with American International Assurance Company, Limited (AIA), the leading life insurer in Southeast Asia, at the official signing ceremony held at The Rizqun International Hotel.

The bancassuarance agreement was signed by Mr Pierre Imhof, General Manager of Baiduri Bank, Mr Ti Eng Hui, Deputy General Manager, Retail Banking and Branch Network, Baiduri Bank, Mr Mark O’Dell, Executive Vice-President and General Manager, AIA Singapore, and Mr Sajan Raman, General Manager of AIA Brunei. Also present were Mr Peter Tan, Assistant Vice President, International Retirement Services & Bancassuarance, AIA Singapore, Mr Raymond Bariou, Senior Deputy General Manager, Baiduri Bank and senior officials from both companies.

Speaking at the event, Mr Pierre Imhof said, “Our retail banking business has grown from strength to strength since it began several years ago. With a growing group of customers whose financial needs are increasing in scope and sophistication, we see a greater necessity to provide a wider range of services and products to fulfil their needs at different stages of their life cycle.

“At the same time, we are also pleased to support government initiatives under the Ministry of Finance to inculcate a saving culture among Bruneians. In this respect, Baiduri Bank has made good progress in promoting personal financial planning with the aim to encourage Bruneians to save and invest for the future through our newly established wealth management unit.

“Besides offering investment products in partnership with the most prominent leading regional and global banks and international fund managers, we will also be actively involved in financial education. To ensure a high degree of professionalism, a team of selected staff members from the Bank will undergo a financial planning certification programme offered by the Singapore College of Insurance. This will equip our staff with the knowledge and skills required to help customers make the right investment decisions suited to their individual financial profile and needs.

“As protection is an important aspect of wealth management, we are delighted to partner with AIA to offer quality life insurance products to our customers. AIA is well-known for its market leadership, pioneering spirit and product innovation in insurance, with highly successful bancassuarance models in the Singapore and Hong Kong markets. We are confident that the combined high levels of expertise and commitment of Baiduri Bank and AIA will make this partnership a resounding success,” added Mr Imhof.

As part of this new partnership, Baiduri Bank will also roll-out and provide free Financial Health Check at all 10 branches nation wide which aims to provide customers with information to assist them in identifying their financial needs. The Financial Health Check provides a general overview of the customer’s financial position and ensures the customer’s needs in terms of savings & protection are established properly. Upon completion of the Financial Health Check, a Financial Planner is able to offer recommendations specifically tailored to their personal financial needs such as insurance coverage, investment and many more. This Programme is very unique and new in Brunei which will greatly assist customers to improve their financial planning.

On the tie-up with Baiduri Bank, AIA Brunei’s General Manager Mr Sajan Raman said: “Consumers today are inundated with so many different types of financial products. They may be spoilt for choice. But they are also facing tougher decisions when it comes to buying the right products that will suit their needs. This is why we emphasise the needs-based approach.

“The needs-based approach will help our customers sift out the right products that will better meet their needs at the different life stages. To help our customers make the right choices, we will continue to raise the level of awareness about the value of needs-based financial planning.

“We believe that partnering Baiduri Bank, an award-winning local bank with deep-seated knowledge of the local market, will bring our bancassuarance business in Brunei to greater heights. Baiduri Bank and AIA will work hand in glove to deliver quality and innovative insurance products tailored to the needs of Bruneians.

“Going forward, Baiduri Bank and AIA will work together to help increase the knowledge of Bruneians towards financial planning and wealth management. We hope that with increased knowledge, our customers will be able to make more well-informed financial planning decisions and will be able to carve out an even brighter future for themselves.

” The signing ceremony took place on the final day of the 23rd East Asian Insurance Congress, the largest meeting for insurance professionals and regulators in Asia, hosted for the first time in Brunei from 30 July to 2 August 2006. This event also marked the growing importance of the insurance industry in Brunei, in line with the government's initiative in promoting the country as one of the primary financial centres in the region.

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