In what can be called homecoming, Prashant Saini is returning to IndiaFirst Life Insurance Co Ltd to head the firm’s legal and compliance. Saini will also be looking after contract negotiations, regulatory interface, litigation and business advisory, among other things, at IndiaFirst, one of the youngest insurance companies in the country, a person familiar with the development told News Corp VCCircle.
This would be Saini's second stint at IndiaFirst. Between September 2011 and August 2014, he oversaw legal and compliance at IndiaFirst. Later, he moved to Canara HSBC OBC Life Insurance Co Ltd as senior manager - legal & compliance.
Saini started his career at law firm Singhania & Associates in 2003, and then moved to the insurance sector. He has also worked with ICICI Bank and Reliance Life Insurance Co Ltd.
“In a sector which is very regulation heavy and prone to litigation, it’s very rare to know legal as well as the compliance part and Prashant is among the few people who know the sector really well,” said a senior partner at a Delhi-based law firm who has worked with him in the past.
An email query to IndiaFirst as well as Saini remained unanswered at the time of writing this report.
Started in 2010 with a paid-up share capital of Rs 625 crore, IndiaFirst Life Insurance is a joint venture between two public sector banks, Bank of Baroda and Andhra Bank, and British wealth and investment company Legal & General Group Plc.
Saini's appointment comes at a time when the insurance sector is witnessing lots of action and, despite being regulation-heavy, outshining several other sectors in terms of retail and big-ticket investments.
Companies are preferring professionals with exposure to legal as well as compliance due to stricter regulatory requirements. Recently, pharmaceutical firm Roche's local unit had hired Mandakini Sharma from UAE Exchange to lead compliance. Around the same time, Vivek Rajan of Scope International joined hospital chain HCG to head its legal and compliance.
Early this month, the country’s largest public sector lender State Bank of India (SBI) decided to dilute around 3.9% in its life insurance arm for around Rs 1,794 crore ($265 million), selling the stake to Singapore’s state investment firm Temasek Holdings and private equity giant KKR & Co.
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