Stan Life Aberdeen ‘could retain £109bn Widows funds’

Campbell Fleming

Standard Life Aberdeen’s head of distribution Campbell Fleming told Money Marketing in a wide-ranging interview that Standard Life Aberdeen is optimistic that it can hold on to the contract to manage £109 billion of assets for Lloyds’ Scottish Widows business.

On February 15, shares of Edinburgh-based Standard Life Aberdeen fell about 5% after it was announced it will lose its biggest client.

Lloyds’ Scottish Widows Investment Partnership funds, which represent around 17% of Standard Life Aberdeen’s assets, were pulled as Lloyds said it sees the newly merged Standard Life Aberdeen as a rival.

In what many considered a direct response to the move, Standard Life Aberdeen decided to sell its insurance arm to Phoenix Group in a deal worth £3 billion and concentrate on asset management.

However, Scottish Widows will continue to employ Standard Life Aberdeen for its fund management business until it finds another potential manager, Money Marketing reported.

Fleming said in the interview the public “is wrong” in thinking Standard Life Aberdeen has effectively “lost” the Scottish Widows assets.

He said Standard Life Aberdeen will continue to manage the funds for at least another year.

To keep the contracts, Fleming said Standard Life Aberdeen will continue to improve performance and provide Scottish Widows with all the services it always offered “at all levels”.

Fleming said: “This firm is trying all it can to put its best foot forward to show that we should still be their investment manager of choice.

“We think the Phoenix deal removes the competition angle.

“We will continue to improve performance and serve them the way we can.

“It is a massive relationship.

“We really want to keep the business because we think they’re good clients.

“The money is with us up to a year and potentially even longer because these things take time to move.”