Simon Birch, the former managing director of Direct Asia, has formed Direct Budget, Auto & General's first South-east Asian venture with the support of BHL. The Monetary Authority of Singapore has only recently licenced the company which began trading as Budget Direct at the start of the year. The company promises to "make it easier, faster and cheaper to secure quality cover with savings of up to 15-20%, or more, on their premiums". Auto & General has been operational in the Australian market since the turn of the millennium. Budget Direct CEO Birch said, "We know Singaporeans are value conscious consumers. They are also active users of technology. By converging our value-based approach with leading technology, we hope our entry into the local market will see more consumers convert to purchasing insurance direct as they discover it isn't as complicated as they have been led to believe. Insurance isn't hard to understand, though this misconception keeps agents and brokers in business. Car insurance is based on known facts; everyone knows what sort of car they own, how they use it and who else used it, add any additional extras that they need and they're done with the ability to buy a policy in 10 minutes or less."