Goodwill and Other Intangible Assets


Goodwill arises on the acquisition of subsidiaries, associates and jointly controlled entities and represents the excess of the aggregate of the cost of an acquisition and any noncontrolling interest in the acquiree over the fair value of the identifiable net assets acquired at the date of the acquisition.

For the purpose of calculating goodwill, fair values of acquired assets, liabilities and contingent liabilities are determined by reference to market values or by discounting expected future cash flows to present value. This discounting is either performed using market rates or by using risk-free rates and risk-adjusted expected future cash flows. Any noncontrolling interest in the acquiree is measured either at fair value or at the noncontrolling interest’s proportionate share of the acquiree’s identifiable net assets (this is determined for each business combination).

Goodwill on the acquisition of subsidiaries is capitalized and reviewed for impairment annually or more frequently if there are indications that impairment may have occurred. For the purposes of impairment testing, goodwill acquired in a business combination is allocated to cash-generating units (“CGUs”), which are the smallest identifiable groups of assets that generate cash inflows largely independent of the cash inflows from other assets or groups of assets and that are expected to benefit from the synergies of the combination and considering the business level at which goodwill is monitored for internal management purposes. In identifying whether cash inflows from an asset (or a group of assets) are largely independent of the cash inflows from other assets (or groups of assets) various factors are considered, including how management monitors the entity’s operations or makes decisions about continuing or disposing of the entity’s assets and operations.

If goodwill has been allocated to a CGU and an operation within that unit is disposed of, the attributable goodwill is included in the carrying amount of the operation when determining the gain or loss on its disposal.

Certain non-integrated investments are not allocated to a CGU. Impairment testing is performed individually for each of these assets.

Goodwill on the acquisition of associates and jointly controlled entities is not disclosed separately, but instead included in the cost of the investments. The entire carrying amount of the equity method investment is reviewed for impairment quarterly, or more frequently if there is an indication that impairment may have occurred.

Intangible assets are recognized separately from goodwill when they are separable or arise from contractual or other legal rights and their fair value can be measured reliably. Intangible assets that have a finite useful life are stated at cost less any accumulated amortization and accumulated impairment losses. Customer-related intangible assets that have a finite useful life are amortized over periods of between 1 and 25 years on a straight-line basis based on their expected useful life. Mortgage servicing rights are carried at cost and amortized in proportion to, and over the estimated period of, net servicing revenue. These assets are tested for impairment and their useful lives reaffirmed at least annually.

Certain intangible assets have an indefinite useful life and hence are not amortized, but are tested for impairment at least annually or more frequently if events or changes in circumstances indicate that impairment may have occurred.

Costs related to software developed or obtained for internal use are capitalized if it is probable that future economic benefits will flow to the Group and the cost can be measured reliably. Capitalized costs are amortized using the straight-line method over the asset’s useful life which is deemed to be either three, five or ten years. Eligible costs include external direct costs for materials and services, as well as payroll and payroll-related costs for employees directly associated with an internal-use software project. Overhead costs, as well as costs incurred during the research phase or after software is ready for use, are expensed as incurred. Capitalized software costs are tested for impairment either annually if still under development or when there is an indication of impairment once the software is in use.

On acquisition of insurance businesses, the excess of the purchase price over the acquirer’s interest in the net fair value of the identifiable assets, liabilities and contingent liabilities is accounted for as an intangible asset. This intangible asset represents the present value of future cash flows over the reported liability at the date of acquisition. This is known as value of business acquired (“VOBA”).

The VOBA is amortized at a rate determined by considering the profile of the business acquired and the expected depletion in its value. The VOBA acquired is reviewed regularly for any impairment in value and any reductions are charged as an expense to the consolidated statement of income.

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