Lloyds swoops on Zurich’s UK pen­sions arm

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business - By

Iain Withers LLOYDS Bank­ing Group has bought Zurich UK’s pen­sions and sav­ings busi­ness, in a boost to its retirement arm.

The bank, which re­turned to full pri­vate own­er­ship in May af­ter the Govern­ment sold the last of its stake, said the deal would bol­ster its Scot­tish Wi­d­ows di­vi­sion by adding £19bn in as­sets and 500,000 cus­tomers.

The tie-up helps An­to­nio Horta-Oso­rio, the Lloyds chief ex­ec­u­tive, grow the group’s retirement busi­ness, which stands to ben­e­fit from reg­u­la­tory changes giv­ing pen­sion­ers more say over how to spend their life sav­ings.

It is his sec­ond takeover in a year, af­ter the group bought credit card busi­ness MBNA from the Bank of Amer­ica, a deal that com­pleted in June.

The Zurich tie-up is ex­pected to par­tially close early next year, with full com­ple­tion to fol­low once reg­u­la­tors give it ap­proval. Lloyds has not dis­closed the fi­nan­cials of the deal.

It comes as Mr Horta-Oso­rio draws up his third strate­gic re­view of the bank ready for launch at the start of 2018, which is ex­pected to re­fo­cus the com­pany on wealth man­age­ment and dig­i­tal bank­ing.

Scot­tish Wi­d­ows al­ready has more than £124bn of funds, of which £35bn are in work­place pen­sions.

Around 200 Zurich staff, mainly based in Chel­tenham, will join Lloyds. As part of the deal Zurich gains dis­tri­bu­tion rights to pro­vide life pro­tec­tion to some of Lloyds’ cor­po­rate clients.

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