What You Need to Know
- Apollo has had a large stake in Athene and now owns it outright.
- Athene is the company that made a $27 billion annuity reinsurance arrangement with Jackson and a $19 billion annuity reinsurance deal with Voya.
- Rowan says the key to success is originating good investments.
Marc Rowan — the head of the investment company that controls Athene Holding, and who has helped finance many of the biggest life insurance and annuity sector deals over the past decade — suggested Friday that some other investment companies that are buying life and annuity issuers are on the wrong track.
Rowan is the CEO of Apollo Global Management.
Apollo has owned a 35% stake in Athene since 2009, and it recently completed an effort to acquire full control of Athene.
Athene is the company that made a $27 billion annuity reinsurance deal with Jackson and a $19 billion annuity reinsurance deal with Voya. It also has contributed to many other giant life and annuity deals, through, in some cases, backing other investment companies in the life and annuity sector, such as Venerable.
Apollo held a conference call to go over its earnings for the fourth quarter of 2021 with securities analysts. One analyst asked about any changes that might be coming in terms of “private equity ownership of life insurers,” or investment companies buying control of life and annuity issuers.
Rowan scoffed at the idea that investing in life and annuity issuers is an easy way for private equity firms to make money.
“What’s interesting is, this is a journey we’ve been on for 12-plus years,” Rowan said. “We have paid an immense amount of tuition. Others who are interested in following what we do will quickly find out that this is not a trade. This is a lifestyle.”
How to Invest in a Life Insurer
One key to investing in life insurers successfully is developing the infrastructure needed to operate within a heavily regulated sector, Rowan said.
Rowan said another key is understanding the nature of a life insurance company investment.