Dutch insurance specialist and finance group Taishin Financial Holding Company have signed a memorandum of understanding to establish a life insurance and pensions joint venture in Taiwan. The joint venture is expected to be operational by mid-2008, subject to regulatory licensing and approval.

Under the terms of the agreement, Taishin will hold a 51% stake in the joint venture, while Aegon will hold the remaining 49%. The joint venture will distribute products through the extensive Taishin network, which includes Taishin Bank, Taiwan Securities, Taishin Insurance Agency and Taishin Insurance Brokers. Combined, they have a customer base of four million and a nationwide distribution network of 200 locations.

The joint venture represents an important move for Taishin as it allows the bank to offer life insurance and pensions products to its customers for the first time. This will significantly strengthen the company’s already diverse range of financial products and services. With demand for pensions and other long-term savings products set to grow, Taishin believes that its joint venture with Aegon marks a significant step in its efforts to become the leading brand in Taiwan’s financial services market.

In addition, Aegon will acquire an interest of approximately 2.5% in Chang Hwa Bank (CHB), the eighth largest retail bank in the country, from Taishin, subject to regulatory approval.

The acquisition is in line with Aegon’s current growth strategy, which aims to further enhance its global distribution network, including partnerships with banks. Aegon first entered the Taiwanese market as a greenfield in 1993 and since then has grown into a fully-fledged life insurance company.