Scottish Widows buys Zurich pensions and savings business

Lloyds Banking Group will acquire £19 billion of United Kingdom pensions and savings assets from insurance company Zurich.

The acquisition added more than £15bn assets under administration and 500,000 customers to the business.

In a written statement, Antonio Lorenzo, director of insurance and wealth at Lloyds and chief executive of Scottish Widows, said the announcement was a "clear signal" of the company's commitment to the retirement and financial planning market. The Scottish Widows retirement business already manages in excess of £124 billion in funds, and around £35 billion of these assets are from workplace pensions.

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Reuters noted in its coverage of the news that bankers have also speculated that Scottish Widows and Standard Life Aberdeen (LON:ADN) could form an insurance tie-up, with Lloyds being a major shareholder in the FTSE 100 giant.

The deal will also see Zurich enter into a multi-year, exclusive distribution partnership to provide group life protection solutions to certain corporate clients of LBG's commercial banking services. "The greater proposition choice created through this acquisition will help us meet adviser and customer demands and ensure we continue to evolve our service proposition so that we are easy to do business with".

Around 200 Zurich employees, mainly based in Cheltenham, in the west of England, are expected to transfer to Lloyds.

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Tulsi Naidu, chief executive of Zurich in the United Kingdom, said the sale of the corportate business was part of a "simplification" of its business.

Lloyds said it expects to partially close the deal in the first quarter of 2018, with the remained completions and transfers of assets staged over the following months.

The Zurich Corporate Savings proposition will broaden Scottish Widows' participation in the large pension scheme sector, with master trust and group self-invested personal pension (GSIPP) solutions. We are simplifying our organisation and focusing on markets where we have strong assets and can best serve our customers and distributors. The parties, however, did not disclose the financial terms of the deal.

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