Mumbai: The Aditya Birla Group named Ajay Srinivasan as chief executive (financial services) and director (corporate strategy and business development), in a bid to rev up the growth of its financial services businesses.
The move is signficant given that Srinivasan was until recently chief executive, fund management, at Prudential Corp. Asia, where he managed the building of the company’s fund management business across Asia from inception. That business covered 10 countries and managed almost $70 billion (Rs2.83 trillion) in funds under management.
The hire suggests that the Aditya Birla group will join another large industrial house, the Tata group, to refocus on financial services.
In a statement, group chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla said that the group sees a tremendous opportunity in the financial services sector.
“As chief executive, financial services, Srinivasan will set the strategic direction and vision, and provide operational leadership for the group’s financial services business,” he said.
The group’s financial services businesses include Birla Sun Life Insurance Co. Ltd, mutual fund company Birla Sun Life Asset Management Co. Ltd, investment planning company Birla Sun Life Distribution Co. Ltd, the non-life insurance advisory services firm Birla Insurance Advisory Services Ltd, and financial services company Birla Global Finance Co. Ltd.
The Birla group’s key financial services businesses have trailed competition. The life insurance business secured Rs84.61 crore in first year premiums of insurers for the period ended May, much lower than, say, its competitor, ICICI Prudential Life Insurance’s Rs632.52 crore.
The mutual fund business is also lagging behind UTI, SBI, Reliance, HDFC and Franklin Templeton with Rs23,438 crore in average assets under management for June 2007.
Meanwhile, the Tata group will likely bring Tata Financial Services, Tata Investment Corp., Tata Securities and Tata Asset Management under one group holding company, called Tata Capital.