The commercial court is being asked to permit transfer of the international life assurance business of Dublin-based HSBC Life (Europe) Ltd — HLE — to another HSBC company in Malta.
The value of the reserves involved is very significant, some €72bn, Denis McDonald, counsel for the companies, said.
Mr Justice Peter Kelly agreed yesterday to transfer the petition for hearing in the Commercial Court on October 31. The petition states most of the policy holders affected are based across Europe. Actuaries for HLE and HSBC Life Assurance (Malta) Ltd — HLM — plus an independent actuary, had concluded no class of HLE or HLM policy holder would be adversely affected by implementation of the scheme.
All but one of HLE’s 13 employees were based in Dublin in April 2014 while the other was based at HLE’s Zurich branch, the petition stated. It said, from April 2012, HLE told all employees, following a strategic review, it was proposed HLE would close to new business and options were being explored to run off its existing policies.
Employees were later told it was proposed to transfer HLE’s business to HLM. It was anticipated only a small number of employees would continue to be employed by HLE following the proposed scheme date of November 2014 and efforts were being made to place as many employees as possible within other HSBC companies.
HLE was incorporated in Ireland in 1994 under the name Midland Life International Ltd and, following acquisition of Midland Bank by HSBC Holdings, changed its name to HLE.
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