Legal & General

"L&G" redirects here. For other uses, see L&G (disambiguation).
Legal & General Group plc
Public limited company
Traded as LSE: LGEN
Industry Financial Services
Asset Management
Founded 1836 (1836)
Headquarters London, United Kingdom
Key people
Sir John Kingman (Chairman)
Nigel Wilson (CEO)
Products Life, Pensions and Investments
Revenue £12,701 million (2015)[1]
£1,414 million (2015)[1]
£1,094 million (2015)[1]
AUM £746.1 billion (2015)[1]
Total equity £669.3 million (2015)[1]

Legal & General Group plc, commonly known as Legal & General, is a British multinational financial services company headquartered in London, United Kingdom. Its products include life insurance, general insurance, pensions and investments.[1] It has operations in the United Kingdom, Egypt, France, Germany, the Gulf, India, the Netherlands and the United States.[1]

Legal & General is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.


1836 to 2000

Legal & General was formed by Sergeant John Adams and five other lawyers in June 1836 in a Chancery Lane coffee shop.[2] Originally called the New Law Life Assurance Society, the society was restricted to those in the legal profession. The name was changed to Legal & General Life Assurance Society to reflect that policies were available to the general public but with share ownership restricted to those in the legal profession. The group expanded in the UK and soon began to acquire overseas life assurance companies, purchasing a pensions business from the Metropolitan Life Assurance Company of New York in the 1930s.[2]

The society became a wholly owned division of Legal & General Group plc in the 1970s.[3] It bought Government Employee Life Insurance from GEICO in the USA (renamed Banner Life) and the Dutch branch of Unlike Assurance Group and also set up business in France during the 1980s.[3]

In the 1940s the main office of Legal & General was moved from Temple Bar House in the City of London to a remodelled former girls' school in leafy Kingswood, Surrey, save for some top management functions which remained in London. The Kingswood site, which included sports fields, a park, a large and luxurious swimming pool, a canteen and a simulacrum of an English pub, among other facilities, was expanded in the 1950s and again in the 1980s.[4] In 2015, it was announced that the headquarters would close "potentially before 2025".[5][6] In fact, after a period of uncertainty for the staff at Kingswood,[7][8] it was announced that the site would shut much earlier, in 2018. The girls' school (St. Monica's), which formed the basis for the site, had also been one of the locations for the famous films about the fictional St. Trinians School, the first of which was The Belles of St. Trinians. The novelist Vera Brittain, mother of the politician Shirley Williams, had been educated there.

The previous Legal & General logo incorporates the image of the Temple Bar (which is still used in the logo of the company's social and athletic committee), and the founding date. The umbrella logo used today was introduced by former Chief Press Officer Gordon Macdonald in June 1984. Between 1991 and 1994, Legal and General sponsored the Regional Weather Forecasts for the ITV network and in 1999, Legal & General announced plans, which never came to fruition, to merge its business with National Westminster Bank to form the first 'bancassurance' company in the UK.[9]

2000 to present

The company sold the Legal & General Bank and Legal & General Mortgage Services to Northern Rock in 2003[10] and sold its stake in Gresham Insurance, its joint venture with Barclays Bank, to Barclays in 2005.[11]

In 2008 Legal & General bought Suffolk Life, a provider of Self Invested Pension products,[12] and also outsourced its IT development areas to TCS (Tata Consultancy Services).[13]

The company formed a joint venture with two Indian public sector banks, Bank of Baroda and Andhra Bank to launch IndiaFirst Life Insurance Company in India in 2009[14] and outsourced its remaining IT areas to IBM in October 2010.[15]

In 2014, the company formed Legal & General Reinsurance, a Bermudian-based reinsurance company. Legal & General Re completed its maiden external transaction in the Dutch market in cooperation with Hannover Re in December 2015.[16]

In January 2015, a unit of Legal & General collaborated with Dutch pension fund manager PGGM acquired the Bishopsgate Long-term Property Fund Unit Trust for a fee of £370 million.[17]


The company offers a wide range of products and, in addition to its direct sales service and brokerage agreements with numerous tied agents and independent financial advisers.[18]

Senior management

In the 1970s and early 1980s, Ron Peet, a socially-conscious actuary, was CEO of Legal & General, having previously headed its Australian operation.[19] Peet helped the campaign for Thalidomide children, Legal & General then owning a large bloc of shares (3.5 million) in Distillers.[20][21]

Dr Nigel Wilson (the previous CFO) became Group Chief Executive on 30 June 2012.[22] He succeeded Tim Breedon, who had been CEO since 1 January 2006 and who was paid an annual salary of £770,000.[23]

Other senior management include Mark Gregory (Chief Financial Officer) and Mark Zinkula (head of Legal & General Investment Management, the investment management arm of the firm). Together with Nigel Wilson they form L&G's executive board.[24]


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "Preliminary Results 2015" (PDF). Retrieved 25 March 2016.
  2. 1 2 Legal & General milestones 1800–1950
  3. 1 2 Legal & General milestones 1960–1980
  4. General, Legal &. "Legal & General - Kingswood office". Retrieved 2016-02-22.
  5. "Legal and General to leave Kingswood site". Surrey Mirror. Retrieved 2016-02-22.
  6. "'Hundreds' could lose jobs in Legal and General Kingswood closure". BBC News. Retrieved 2016-02-22.
  7. Chapple, James. "Job 'numbers simply do not add up,' says Unite union". getsurrey. Retrieved 2016-02-22.
  8. "L&G delays Kingswood office closure amid strike plans -". Retrieved 2016-02-22.
  9. Buerkle, Tom (7 September 1999). "'Bankassurance' comes to Britain". International Herald Tribune. Retrieved 18 April 2011.
  10. "Why Northern Rock is music to people's ears". 26 April 2005. Retrieved 18 April 2011.
  11. "Sale of 90% stake in Gresham Insurance". 31 March 2005. Retrieved 18 April 2011.
  12. "L&G agrees £62m deal for Suffolk Life". Retrieved 16 March 2015.
  13. Essen, Yvette (26 November 2007). "L&G could outsource IT functions". The Daily Telegraph. UK. Retrieved 18 April 2011.
  14. "Andhra Bank, BoB, L&G Group in insurance JV". Retrieved 18 April 2011.
  15. Karl Flinders email (22 June 2010). "Legal & General outsources IT infrastructure to IBM". Retrieved 18 April 2011.
  16. "L&G expands risk transfer business to mainland Europe with €200 deal". Professional Pensions. 16 December 2015. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
  17. L&G, Dutch fund PGGM buy property fund unit trust for $562 mln. Reuters, 6 January 2015
  18. "Would you pay £500 for unbiased advice?". The Telegraph. 22 September 2012. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
  19. "The Glasgow Herald - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 2016-02-22.
  20. Stephens, Trent; Brynner, Rock (2009-04-01). Dark Remedy: The Impact Of Thalidomide And Its Revival As A Vital Medicine. Basic Books. ISBN 0786731125.
  21. Evans, Harold (2009-10-01). My Paper Chase: True Stories of Vanished Times: An Autobiography. Little, Brown Book Group. ISBN 9780748114719.
  22. "Dr Nigel Wilson: Directorate Change (Group Chief Executive)". Legal & General Media Centre. Retrieved 10 May 2010.
  23. "Tim Breedon: Executive Profile & Biography". BusinessWeek. McGraw-Hill. Retrieved 18 August 2009.
  24. "Legal & General executive salaries hit £560k". Retrieved 25 March 2016.
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