COLUMBUS, Ga., Sept. 19, 2011 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Aflac Incorporated announced today that it has hired Eric M. Kirsch to lead its global investment management function as a member of its executive management team. Kirsch will join Aflac on November 1, 2011 as first senior vice president; global chief investment officer and will be responsible for management of Aflac's $93 billion investment portfolio and its team of more than 50 investment professionals. Kirsch will coordinate the company's investment efforts through a newly established Manhattan-based office. However, the company will continue to maintain the vast majority of its investment resources in Columbus, Georgia and Tokyo, Japan. Current Chief Investment Officer W. Jeremy "Jerry" Jeffery will serve as senior vice president, Fixed Income Investments.
Kirsch brings extensive strategic investment experience to Aflac. He most recently served as managing director and global head of insurance asset management, including portfolio management, insurance advisory services and distribution at Goldman Sachs Asset Management (GSAM). Kirsch was recruited by GSAM to create a dedicated global insurance business. In that capacity, he managed a global team of over 55 professionals and was instrumental in elevating GSAM's reputation as a top insurance asset manager. Prior to joining Goldman Sachs, he spent 27 combined years at Deutsche Asset Management (DeAM) and Bankers Trust Company, most recently serving as managing director and global head of insurance asset management. At DeAM, Kirsch was responsible for a staff of over 100 people including teams in North America, Europe and Asia and oversaw total insurance assets of more than $150 billion while a member of the Global Operating Committee of DeAM. Prior to this, Kirsch served as managing director and head of North America Fixed Income, responsible for more than $150 billion of assets across institutional and retail clients and multiple fixed income investment strategies. He also previously served as vice president and stable value portfolio manager at Bankers Trust Company. Kirsch received a bachelor of business administration in business and finance from Baruch College in 1984, and a master's of business administration from Pace University in 1988. He earned his CFA designation in 1990.
Commenting on his new position at Aflac, Kirsch said: "I am excited about the opportunity to lead Aflac's investment team and to build on the company's strong foundation of prudent asset and liability management. Clearly, income-oriented investors face challenges in the current interest rate environment and Aflac has significant cash flows to invest. However, I believe that we can maintain a favorable risk profile to the portfolio, while improving returns by exploring new, yet appropriate asset classes. We also anticipate as part of a strategic review engaging external asset management firms to provide investment management services for up to 10% of our portfolio as a means of diversifying risk and enhancing our intellectual capital. My objective is for Aflac to be recognized as a world-class investment organization that pays particular attention to the needs of the insurance operation through effective ALM and capital adequacy and also to the expectations of shareholders through investment income growth."
Aflac Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Daniel P. Amos added, "After an extensive search, I am very pleased to announce that Eric has accepted the opportunity to manage our global investment area. We remain proud of our long-term investment track record and the strength of our balance sheet. But the world has changed dramatically since the emergence of the financial crisis. There is no doubt that investing is a much more complex activity than it was just a few years ago. As such, it's critically important that we continue to invest in our global investment department and enhance our capabilities. And I believe that investment begins with people. Eric brings extensive investment experience to our company and more importantly, he brings a track record of vision and success. I'm very excited to be working with Eric and I look forward to his contributions to the investment function and to the continued success of our company."
When a policyholder gets sick or hurt, Aflac pays cash benefits fast. For more than 55 years, Aflac insurance policies have given policyholders the opportunity to focus on recovery, not financial stress. In the United States, Aflac is the number one provider of guaranteed-renewable insurance. In Japan, Aflac is the number one life insurance company in terms of individual policies in force. Aflac insurance products provide protection to more than 50 million people worldwide. For five consecutive years, Aflac has been recognized by Ethisphere magazine as one of the World's Most Ethical Companies and by Forbes magazine as one of America's Best-Managed Companies in the Insurance category. In 2011, Fortune magazine recognized Aflac as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in America for the thirteenth consecutive year. Also, Fortune magazine included Aflac on its list of Most Admired Companies for the tenth time in 2011. Aflac Incorporated is a Fortune 500 company listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol AFL. To find out more about Aflac, visit aflac.com or aflacenespanol.com.
The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 provides a "safe harbor" to encourage companies to provide prospective information, so long as those informational statements are identified as forward-looking and are accompanied by meaningful cautionary statements identifying important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those included in the forward-looking statements. We desire to take advantage of these provisions. This document contains cautionary statements identifying important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected herein, and in any other statements made by company officials in communications with the financial community and contained in documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Forward-looking statements are not based on historical information and relate to future operations, strategies, financial results or other developments. Furthermore, forward-looking information is subject to numerous assumptions, risks and uncertainties. In particular, statements containing words such as "expect," "anticipate," "believe," "goal," "objective," "may," "should," "estimate," "intends," "projects," "will," "assumes," "potential," "target" or similar words as well as specific projections of future results, generally qualify as forward-looking. Aflac undertakes no obligation to update such forward-looking statements. We caution readers that the following factors, in addition to other factors mentioned from time to time, could cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated by the forward-looking statements: difficult conditions in global capital markets and the economy generally; governmental actions for the purpose of stabilizing the financial markets; defaults and downgrades in certain securities in our investment portfolio; impairment of financial institutions; credit and other risks associated with Aflac's investment in perpetual securities; differing judgments applied to investment valuations; subjective determinations of amount of impairments taken on our investments; realization of unrealized losses; limited availability of acceptable yen-denominated investments; concentration of our investments in any particular sector or issuer; concentration of business in Japan; ongoing changes in our industry; exposure to significant financial and capital markets risk; fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates; significant changes in investment yield rates; deviations in actual experience from pricing and reserving assumptions; subsidiaries' ability to pay dividends to the Parent Company; changes in law or regulation by governmental authorities; ability to attract and retain qualified sales associates and employees; ability to continue to develop and implement improvements in information technology systems; changes in U.S. and/or Japanese accounting standards; decreases in our financial strength or debt ratings; level and outcome of litigation; ability to effectively manage key executive succession; catastrophic events including, but not necessarily limited to, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, and radiological disasters; and failure of internal controls or corporate governance policies and procedures.
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SOURCE: Aflac Incorporated