10 January 2018Insurance

PE firm Blackstone unveils insurance unit and its CEO

Blackstone Insurance Solutions, a new business launched by private equity group Blackstone, has hired the former president of New York Life’s Investments Group as its chief executive.

Chris Blunt will join the firm as a senior managing director and CEO. He joins Blackstone after 13 years at New York Life, where he most recently served as president of the investments group. In that role, he was responsible for five businesses: NYL Investors, New York Life Investment Management, Retail Annuities, Institutional Annuities and Seguros Monterrey New York Life. These had combined assets under management of more than $500 billion.

He was previously co-president of New York Life’s Insurance & Agency group, the company’s largest operating division, and held senior roles within the Retirement Income Security, Life & Annuity and MainStay Investments divisions. Before joining New York Life, Blunt worked at Merrill Lynch Investment Managers, Goldman Sachs Asset Management, and a number of other financial institutions.

Blackstone Insurance Solutions partners with insurers to either create bespoke portfolios across asset classes or it can fully manage insurance companies’ investment portfolios.

The business already has a substantial portfolio. Affiliates of Blackstone recently entered into an investment agreement with Fidelity & Guaranty Life, for which Blackstone Insurance Solutions oversees $22 billion in assets under management. In 2016, Blackstone, in partnership with AXIS Capital, established Harrington Reinsurance, a property & casualty reinsurance company, for which it manages all general account assets.

Tony James, Blackstone president and COO, said: “Many insurers face a perfect storm of significant policyholder obligations and declining investment returns in the public markets. Blackstone’s investment management expertise and high-quality, high-performing products can be an important part of the solution. Chris Blunt has extensive experience in the insurance industry and we look forward to welcoming him to the firm as we continue growing this business.”

Blunt commented: “I am excited to join Blackstone and continue expanding the firm’s partnerships with the insurance industry. Blackstone is well positioned to provide a range of offerings – from high-grade private credit to traditional alternatives – that deliver compelling risk-adjusted performance, which is especially vital in this long-term, low-interest-rate environment. The firm’s leading platforms across a wide array of asset classes allow us to create bespoke products that help insurers better manage their long-term liabilities to policyholders.”

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