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Allianz could be wise to follow in Fortis&

Hard on the heels of last week’s asset management tie-up between Fortis and Ping An, Allianz could be the next European insurer to strike a deal with an ambitious and cash-rich Chinese investor.

The Munich-based group has declined to comment on speculation about its volatile Dresdner Kleinwort investment banking arm, acquired in its pricey purchase of Dresdner Bank in 2001. While growth into retail bancassurance may just about have met expectations, investment banking has been a bind. This was tacitly admitted in a strategic U-turn earlier this month, when Allianz decided to split Dresdner’s corporate and investment banking services from its retail banking arm.

Do the moves by Fortis and potentially Allianz say something about the state of European insurance amid concerns about slowing growth and sinking asset quality? Insurers’ shares have slumped almost as much as those of the banks as investors have fretted about hidden exposures to US subprime securities.

So far, the actual damage to insurers

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