The Derisking Program at AFLAC

One of key aspects in understanding AFLAC ($AFL) is that the company has greatly reduced its exposure to problem areas around the world. I don’t believe the market fully sees this. Kriss Cloninger, AFLAC’s CFO, recently discussed their investment portfolio at Citi’s 2013 U.S. Financial Services Conference.

Now, let me discuss how we’ve substantially enhanced our investment portfolio over the last few years. From January 2008 to the end of 2012, we dramatically cut our holdings of sovereign and financial instruments in the PIGS countries. We’ve also lowered our investments in perpetual securities. And the successful derisking program that we completed in mid-2012 has enabled us to focus on enhancing portfolio quality.

The U.S. corporate bond program we initiated in the third quarter of 2012 continues to be an effective means for enhancing our new money yields in the Japan portfolio. You’ll recall in the last half of 2012, our objective was to invest roughly two-thirds of our investment cash flow and U.S. dollar denominated publicly traded corporate bonds and then hedged the currency risk on principal back to yen.

This successful investment program enabled us to surpass our budgeted new money yield for 2012. And it has also provided greater liquidity and enhanced the flexibility of our portfolio while increasing the opportunities to diversify our portfolio beyond JGBs.

At December 31, this U.S. corporate bond program represented about 6.2% of our total portfolio. In light of the success of the corporate bond program last year and strong credit fundamentals of the investment grade corporate credits, we intend to continue this program in the first quarter of this year. Consistent with our asset allocation program, we’ll balance these investments with some JGBs for diversification and liquidity as well as other investment opportunities as they arise.

Our ability to continue to implement new strategies is based on the evolving capabilities of the AFLAC global investment division. We’re going to continue to build this framework to support investments and newer asset classes and then move forward accordingly and we’ll update you on our progress with our analyst meeting in May.

We’ve defined our investment objectives as maximizing risk adjusted performance subject to our liability profile and capital requirements. It’s important to note that all of our strategies have been back tested against our capital ratios and the ratios we’re trying to achieve.

Posted by on March 6th, 2013 at 1:44 pm

The information in this blog post represents my own opinions and does not contain a recommendation for any particular security or investment. I or my affiliates may hold positions or other interests in securities mentioned in the Blog, please see my Disclaimer page for my full disclaimer.