Legal and General’s share price (LON:LGEN) closed marginally higher at 170.98p yesterday, June 17, after the FTSE 100 provider of risk, savings and investment management products unveiled its new finance director.
After a search that lasted more than a year, L&G has picked Mark Gregory, a 15-year veteran at the company, as finance director. The UK financial regulator had disapproved of L&G’s initial choice – Oliver Trent, former head of UK audit at KPMG – citing insufficient experience of the insurance sector.
Mark Gregory, who is currently running L&G’s savings business, will take on the role with effect from next month. “Mark has made a major contribution having led the successful turnaround of the Savings business, implementation of our strategy for the post-RDR [Retail Distribution Review] marketplace and auto-enrolment, and the acquisition of Cofunds. We have worked together very closely as part of the executive team over a number of years and I look forward to working with Mark in his new role as the executive team continues to deliver our growth strategy,” Nigel Wilson, chief executive officer, said in a statement.
Since Wilson moved from the position to become chief executive, L&G has had an interim finance director, Wadham Downing. John Pollock will succeed Gregory as head of the Savings business while the annuities business will become a separate division led by Kerrigan Procter. The investment management arm, run by Mark Zinkula, will assume responsibility for the retail unit trust business. “The successful turnaround of the Savings business now enables us to re-organise our business in a way which best reflects customer needs and the increasingly digital distribution environment of RDR, auto-enrolment and platforms,” Wilson commented on the changes.
**Legal & General Sees Potential for ₤15 Billion Investment in the UK**
CEO Wilson said last week that L&G could invest up to ₤15 billion in infrastructure if the government revised its planning and energy policies. The company could spend the money on roads, airports, housing and shale gas projects if the government granted developers more planning permissions.
“We just happen to have no coherent policies in a lot of areas and we need to unblock those things that are blocking the growth: housing, energy, transport,” Wilson said on Bloomberg TV. “The land is available, the capital is available. There just has to be the political will.”
**L&G’s Shares Have Their Buy Rating and 200p PT Retained**
Following news of Gregory’s appointment as finance director, Oriel Securities analyst Marcus Barnard commented in a note: “We retain our buy recommendation and price target of 200p. The business has five key growth areas, namely Legal & General investment management, retirement solutions, digital solutions, protection and direct investments, all of which have been performing well. Recent market falls have seen L&G’s share price fall to 170p or just 1.1 times prospective enterprise value with a forecast dividend yield of 4.8%.”
**Legal and General’s share price was 170.98p as of 18.06.2013, 07.41 BST.**
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