In 1836, six respected lawyers met in a London coffee house where life insurance was the topic of discussion. They decided to form an association under the chairmanship of John Adams which was eventually named Legal & General Life Assurance Society. Those founders had the same attitudes toward innovation and risk taking as those which characterize the Legal & General Group today. The financial skills of those six lawyers laid the foundation for L&G's worldwide business.
Our headquarters is still in London, but Legal & General is expanding its presence outside of the United Kingdom. The Group's US operations now include investment management; pensions risk management as well as providing life insurance. We're also expanding our investment management operations in Asia, the Gulf and other international markets. In the UK we're the leading provider of life insurance, investment management for corporate pension plans and pensions buyout services. Our long history not only demonstrates our credibility, but shows our experience in every kind of economic climate. Legal & General Group currently has over 10 million customers for life insurance, pensions, investments and general insurance plans and have over 3,000 institutional clients.
Legal & General Group formed Legal & General America as a holding company in 1981, and bought Government Employees Life Insurance Company (GELICO) and its NY affiliate. The GELICO name changed to Banner in 1983. William Penn was purchased by Legal & General Group Plc as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Banner Life Insurance Company in 1989. While Banner and William Penn remain the companies that underwrite and issue our policies, we go to market under a single name, Legal & General America.
Our parent company, Legal & General Group Plc is a top 10 global asset manager and is the seventh largest insurer in the world according to A.M. Best's 2017 report based on 2015 net assets. As of June 30, 2016, Legal & General Group had £842 billion (over $1 trillion) in worldwide assets under management, on behalf of investors, policyholders and institutions.
Standard & Poor's, Moody's, and A.M. Best recognize Legal & General Assurance Society Limited as one of the UK's top rated companies for financial strength, with Standard & Poor's confirming our AA- rating in 2016.