Lloyds adds £19bn of assets in Swiss deal

Lloyds Banking Group PLC (LON:LLOY) has agreed to buy Zurich Insurance's United Kingdom workplace pensions and savings business.

The deal brings with it 500,00 customers and is being seen as a major shot in the arm to Lloyds' Scottish Widows pensions and retirement business, Scottish Widows having been acquired by the United Kingdom bank in 1999.

In August, the Financial Times reported that Lloyds Banking Group's chief executive, Antonio Horta-Osorio, was preparing to expand the company's pensions and investment suite of products when he unveils the company's 2018 strategic review in February.

The deal will see Zurich get exclusive distribution rights for group life protection to certain corporate clients of LBG's commercial banking business.

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.

This includes accelerating the development of its financial planning and retirement business, Scottish Widows, in order to enhance Lloyd's current proposition and help deliver a modern, flexible workplace savings platform.

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"Zurich Corporate Savings is highly regarded and has achieved good growth in assets under administration driven through strong relationships with large-scale corporate clients and their intermediaries".

"By comparison, the workplace pensions business is sleepy, steady and sticky", Khalaf said, adding that the defined contribution market is also growing "thanks to the government's automatic enrolment programme which is forcing employers and employees to pay money into workplace pensions".

Zurich Corporate Savings will broaden Scottish Widows' offering in the large pension scheme sector with master trust and group self-invested personal pension solutions.

As part of the transaction c.200 Zurich employees - including key management, relationship managers, technical experts and operations staff, located primarily in Cheltenham - are expected to transfer to LBG under a TUPE arrangement.

Naidu adds: "This new exclusive deal with Lloyds Banking Group broadens our corporate protection distribution footprint".

The deal is expected to be partially completed in the first quarter of next year, although some regulatory and legal hurdles around the transfer of assets may take longer to clear.

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