US-based insurer MetLife, Bank for Investment & Development of Vietnam (BIDV), and Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam Insurance Corporation (BIC), have reached an agreement to form a life insurance joint venture (JV) in Vietnam.

This move follows the memorandum of understanding (MOU) that was inked by both parties in July this year.

The proposed JV will enable MetLife to enhance its footprint in emerging markets, while offering BIDVa strategic direction into the field of life insurance, which is in accordance with the bank’s business tradition.

The new JV is expected to commence operation in 2014 with a charter capital of VND1trn ($48m), in which MetLife will own 60% stake, while remaining 40% interest will be held by BIDV and BIC.

Initially, the company will concentrate on providing life and health insurance products.

Commenting on the agreement, MetLife Asia president Chris Townsend said, "This JV agreement between MetLife and BIDV expands MetLife’s footprint into fast growing Southeast Asia and highlights our commitment to the country."

The JV will combine MetLife’s global expertise, financial reliability and an array of new products and services with BIDV’s understanding of the financial needs of Vietnamese customers and its large national branch network of more than 600 distribution points.

In addition to the formation of the JV, JV and BIDV will ink an exclusive bancassurance distribution agreement, for the marketing of the life insurance policies in the country.

Instituted in 1868, MetLife provides insurance, annuities and employee benefit programs, to approximately 90 million customers, across the globe.