Lloyds Plots Deal Spree At Scottish Widows

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Source:   —  April 07, 2016, at 2:46 PM

The UK's biggest high Str lender is to open its wallet to fund a string of deals at Scottish Widows, Sky News understands.

Lloyds Plots Deal Spree At Scottish Widows

Lloyds Banking Grouping is preparing to launch a string of deals at its insurance arm as the Government nears the sale of its remaining stake in the high street lender.

Sky News has learnt that Lloyds has in recent weeks held a beauty parade of investment banks to advise on acquisition targets for Scottish Widows, one of the country'south biggest life insurance and pensions providers.

Bankers will work alongside McKinsey, the management consultant, on identifying assets in the corporate pensions and bulk annuities sectors during a period when Britain'south pensions market is undergoing radical reforms engineered by George Osborne, the Chancellor.

The news raises the prospect of a takeover spree in which Lloyds will invest hundreds of millions of pounds as it seeks to widen its market share in areas beyond its core high Str retail and business banking services.

People near to Lloyds said its plans should dampen lingering speculation that the bank might be interested in pursuing a long-rumoured sale of its insurance arm.

Instead, it underlines the extent to which Lloyds is trying to embrace its imminent freedom from the clutches of taxpayers, with the Government'south shareholding - presently below nine% - likely to be sold later this year.

A Lloyds spokesman told Sky News: "We're looking at how we continue to focus on growing our insurance business where we believe we've competitive advantage through our sector expertise and scale.

"We've number plans to review our Insurance business more broadly or to consider divestment."

Scottish Widows was founded in one thousand eight hundred-fifteenth as Scotland’s first mutual life office and has long been one of the UK'south most recognised brands across the life, pensions and investment sectors.

Its fund management arm was acquired by Aberdeen Asset Management two years ago, with Lloyds taking a minority stake in the enlarged company.

The expansion of Scottish Widows is portion of a three-year strategy outlined latest year by Antonio Horta-Osorio, Lloyds' chief executive.

Six months ago, Toby Strauss stepped down as head of the insurance business, and was replaced by Anotnio Lorenzo, an existing Lloyds executive.

The changes arrive amid radical reforms of the UK pensions industry, with new freedoms introduced to authorize consumers to get greater control of their retirement savings.

Earlier this week, the City watchdog said it would launch a pensions market review and consider extra measures to defend consumers cashing in their savings pots as portion of its business map for the next twelve months.

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