AccessMyLibrary provides FREE access to millions of articles from top publications available through your library.
Original Source: FD (FAIR DISCLOSURE) WIRE
MATTHEW HEIMERMANN, ANALYST, JPMORGAN: Well, good morning again, everyone. It's my pleasure to introduce Phil Bancroft, who is the CFO of ACE Limited. He's been with the Company since January of '02 and has really overseen the deleveraging of the Company while, at the same time, supporting quite a bit of growth, and at the same time, increased financial disclosure, which, as an analyst, I certainly appreciate that.
Prior to joining the Company, he had, I think, approximately  years of accounting experience. He's very well-versed in the insurance industry. With that, I'll turn it over to Phil. Thank you.
PHIL BANCROFT, CFO, ACE LIMITED: Thank you. I appreciate you having us here. Just to start, I want to point to the Safe Harbor disclosure. You can see that we're making forward-looking statements and that we suggest you look to our SEC filings and other documents to get a more complete picture.
I wanted to say that, as you've just heard, I've been with the Company for six years, and there's been a lot of change over that six years, I would say. And one of the things that strikes me is that, as I've talked both internally and externally about the Company over that timeframe, quite a bit has changed in the sense that in the early days, we were talking about the difficulties with our balance sheet and the things we needed to focus on. And many of those things, you'll see, have been worked on, and we've made tremendous progress.
We talked about our infrastructure and the things we needed to accomplish in the infrastructure, and I think you'll see today that the real -- the tone of the story is that we've made an awful lot of progress on those types of things, too.
Our platform, as you see, is very important to us. We have a global presence, and it's a presence that we think is unique and very difficult to replicate and something that we treasure. We utilize it in a way that allows us to allocate capital around the world. We're in [truly] in 50 countries in a big way, and we support companies in about 140 companies with insurance and reinsurance.
And so, that platform, which is I think somewhat unique, as I say, gives us an opportunity to move our capital around the world to take advantage of markets as markets change, right? We're not beholding to one particular jurisdiction, and that breadth that we have really provides us, I think, an opportunity for growth. And you'll see in the progress that we've made over the last -- well, over since really our inception, that platform has served us very well and is a real important driver in the growth and the success that we've had.
Stability, I think you'll see that, again, we've focused on deleveraging, on strengthening our balance sheet. That's been a very important part of what we've done. Our capital has been strong. We've been one of the few companies in our group, in our peer group not to return capital. Our view has been a strong balance sheet. A global company is very important, and we continue to believe that.
We continue to believe that we need to build out our franchise, and you'll see with one of the acquisitions that we just recently accomplished, we've been able to utilize our capital and make an investment that we think is going to be very meaningful to us, especially as we apply it to this global platform. And then, finally, balance sheet strength, and I'll talk more about that. But all of that together, I believe, is part of the ACE message that's very important to understand.
If you look at our global presence -- and I mentioned we're in 50 countries and we support companies in 150, in 140 other countries -- again, I can't emphasize how important that is. As we move around the world, as we look at opportunities in emerging markets, which we really believe is going to be an important part of our future, it's hard to see how -- I mean, I believe there's a big barrier to entry, to developing a company of our structure and our size and scale globally, and I believe we take full advantage of that. And I'll illustrate that as we go.
Give you a picture of the Company and how it looks from an organizational standpoint. We have a North American presence, and we have divisions within North America that we call USA, Westchester and Bermuda. And that really makes up our U.S. presence, both retail and wholesale. And then ACE Bermuda is our business where we do high access, both casualty and other types of high-access business.
Global Re is our reinsurance unit. We have reinsurance that we source out of the U.S., out of the UK, more recently out of Canada and China. So that piece of our business -- well, it's become less significant. Reinsurance has become less significant as our view of the pricing has softened. It's still an important avenue for us, an important opportunity.
One of the things that I think people believe …