Profile: Aviva's capital planning after Friends Life takeover

Capital management director Marcus Bowser explains UK insurer's aims

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In evolutionary terms, Aviva is hoping its acquisition of Friends Life turns out to be like the development of opposable thumbs in human ancestors – a change that might look strange at first but makes possible a leap into the future.

It was thumbs that made early hominids use their hands, and so stand and walk on two legs. In turn, greater dexterity encouraged advances in brain development. Aviva will be hoping for a similarly transformational outcome from its acquisition, even if the deal confo