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Linklaters Business Services

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Duncan Barber

Work 020 7456 3356
Linklaters Business Services

Work Department

Corporate, insurance.


Duncan is a leading practitioner in the insurance sector. He has extensive experience in all types of corporate transactions within the sector, including public and private M&A, reinsurances, distribution arrangements, financings and securitisations. Duncan also advises on insurance regulation including the impact of the Solvency II Directive and the UK leaving the EU.

Duncan has led on many of the transformative transactions within the insurance sector throughout the past 25 years, including advising on several of the demutualisations of the 1990s/early 2000s, on with-profits reorganisations by major insurers and on the increased use of longevity reinsurance as an innovative structure to reduce risk on pension fund liabilities. He has also advised on many transfers of life and non-life insurance business.

Duncan is responsible for managing the firm’s relationships with several of the firm’s key insurer clients. He led the firm’s insurance sector group for 10 years.

Duncan has advised or led on, many of the insurance sector’s highest profile transactions. These include advising:  

  • Lloyds TSB (now Lloyds Banking Group) on its £7bn acquisition of Scottish Widows and the subsequent demutualisation, which, in addition to being a high-profile, high-value transaction, required the negotiation of bespoke protections for Scottish Widows’ policyholders, including negotiating with regulators a series of unprecedented capital reserves  
  • Old Mutual on its takeover of the Swedish-headed global insurer Skandia, which was, at the time, the highest value takeover ever in the insurance sector. This involved preparing a UK prospectus for Old Mutual which, once approved in London, was then passported for use in Sweden and other European jurisdictions and also required obtaining regulatory approval in about 30 jurisdictions  
  • Swiss Re’s “Admin Re” life and pensions business on its acquisition of Guardian Assurance from Cinven and management of Guardian Assurance, which involved detailed due diligence given Swiss Re was buying from private equity sellers, and was signed at a time when there remained uncertainty as to the approach being applied by the regulators to insurers under Solvency II including the subsequent Part VII transfer of the business of Guardian Assurance to ReAssure Limited  
  • Aviva UK Life on the transfer of the whole of the long-term life insurance business of Friends Life Limited and Friends Life and Pensions Limited to Aviva Life & Pensions UK Limited by way of a court-sanctioned insurance business transfer Scheme 
  • the Association of British Insurers and various UK insurers on the implications of, and contingency planning for, Brexit 
  • Generali Group on the disposal of its entire shareholding in Generali Nederland (and its subsidiaries) to ASR Nederland


Duncan is also a contributory author to A Practitioner’s Guide to The FSA Regulation of Insurance.


Trained Linklaters; qualified 1993; solicitor 1993-2001; partner 2001 to date.


St John’s College, Durham (1989 BA Law); Law Society Final Examination (1990).

London: Insurance

Insurance: corporate and regulatory

Within: Leading individuals

Duncan Barber - Linklaters LLP

Within: Insurance: corporate and regulatory

Outstanding and excellent value for money’, the team at Linklaters LLP ‘is ruthlessly efficient with its time so you never feel that costs are being wasted’. The firm’s global reach gives it expertise in cross-border and emerging markets transactions, and it has advised on over 400 insurance matters globally. These matters cover the full spectrum, from M&A and portfolio transfers on the corporate insurance side to Solvency II and pre-enforcement support at the regulatory end; a particular highlight was advising Prudential on its conflicts of interest policy. The team includes the ‘extremely smartDuncan Barber, who is a ‘go-to person on really tricky regulatory issues’, as well as Dan Schuster-Woldan and Kanyaka Ramamurthi, who are ‘second to none for transactional work’.

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