Lloyds boosts Scottish Widows operation with Zurich swoop

Scottish Widows can trace its roots back to 1812. Picture: Fiona Hanson
Scottish Widows can trace its roots back to 1812. Picture: Fiona Hanson
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Lloyds Banking Group has bolstered its Scottish Widows business after snapping up Zurich’s UK workplace pensions and saving arm.

The lender said that the deal underlined its “commitment to the financial planning and retirement segment”.

Tracing its roots back to 1812, Scottish Widows was acquired by Lloyds in 1999 for some £7 billion. It currently manages more than £124bn of assets, of which £35bn is in workplace pensions.

The part of the Zurich business that is being bought has assets under administration of about £19bn.

Lloyds said the transaction was in line with its “targeted growth strategy” and accelerated the development of its financial planning and retirement business.

The acquisition is expected to partially close in the first quarter of 2018, the group added, with subsequent completion and transfer of assets following the necessary regulatory and legal approvals.

Scottish Widows boss Antonio Lorenzo said: “The acquisition of Zurich’s UK workplace pensions and savings business complements Scottish Widows’ growth to date.”

Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Laith Khalaf said: “This move underlines Lloyds’ commitment to the pensions market, scotching rumours that have circulated for years that [it] is looking to sell off the Scottish Widows franchise.”

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