Friends Life plans £261m windfall after Lombard sale

Insurer Friends Life today said shareholders were in line for a £261 million windfall following the sale of its Lombard wealth planning arm.

The group, led by former Scottish Widows boss Andy Briggs, is selling Lombard to private equity firm Blackstone for up to £356m.

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Briggs said: “Lombard formed part of the group’s initial purchase of Friends Provident in 2009 and is a leading European provider of long-term wealth planning solutions for high and ultra-high net worth investors.

“It has always had a different profile to the rest of the group and we believe its disposal is in the best interests of both Friends Life and Lombard.”

Subject to regulatory consent, Friends Life plans to return £261m to investors via a share buyback programme.