Standard Life to start merger talks with Scottish Widows

Life assurer Scottish Widows is owned by Lloyds Banking Group

Life assurer Scottish Widows is owned by Lloyds Banking Group

Such a move would unite two of Edinburgh's historical arch-rivals in the life and pension sector.

Meetings today should seen Standard Life's £11bn merger with Edinburgh-based fund manager Aberdeen Asset Management ratified by shareholders of both groups, but the Scottish Widows talk adds a third element to the mix.

The Sunday Times has reported discussions between Standard Life and Scottish Widows will begin this week, citing the group's prospectus for the Aberdeen deal.

Standard Life Aberdeen will be headed Martin Gilbert, left, and Keith Skeoch.

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Completion of the Standard/Aberdeen merger is expected by mid-August.

Skeoch was also asked about where the deal left Standard's annuity business and replied the company had not ruled out selling it.

"We think the deal reflects Aberdeen and Standard Life choosing to be big".

It sold the fund manager arm of Scottish Widows to Aberdeen in 2013, which gave Lloyds a 9.9% stake in the fund manager, a deal that also included a mandate to manage Scottish Widow's money that was worth more than £130mln to Aberdeen previous year.

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The contract with Lloyds money was worth £137 million in revenue to Aberdeen in the last financial year to September 2016 and was originally scheduled to have a term of at least eight years.

"It is the intention that the combined group will explore ways in good faith to build a successful relationship with Lloyds for the benefit of their respective customers, businesses, shareholders and other stakeholders".

According to The Times, Lloyds had given Aberdeen and Standard Life six months to close the deal and waived a change of control clause, which would have allowed it to reclaim the Scottish Widows business from Aberdeen.

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