Scottish Widows and Lloyds Banking Group’s Wealth businesses have decided to review their asset management arrangements and have therefore given notice to Standard Life Aberdeen plc (“Standard Life Aberdeen”) to terminate their partnership agreements with Aberdeen Asset Management plc (“Aberdeen”).
Scottish Widows and Wealth entered into the partnership with Aberdeen following the sale of Scottish Widows Investment Partnership in 2014. This included long-term contracts for the management by Aberdeen of over £100bn of assets on behalf of Scottish Widows and Wealth.
These contracts enabled Scottish Widows and Wealth to terminate the contracts in the event that Aberdeen was subject to a change of control with a material competitor. Aberdeen recently completed a merger with Standard Life plc, which is a material competitor of Scottish Widows and also of Wealth. At the time, Scottish Widows and Wealth agreed to delay a decision regarding the exercise of their termination rights for a period of 6 months following completion of the merger, during which period the parties agreed to discuss in good faith ways to build a successful relationship and address the competition issue.
As no agreement has been reached, Scottish Widows and Wealth have decided to terminate their partnership agreements with Standard Life Aberdeen and to review their long-term asset management arrangements. Aberdeen has delivered good service and performance and Scottish Widows and Wealth would welcome their participation in the review if Standard Life Aberdeen is able to resolve the competition issue.
There are no immediate changes for customers. Following completion of the review, Scottish Widows and Wealth anticipate implementing the new arrangements by the end of H1 2019. Scottish Widows and Wealth will work with Standard Life Aberdeen to ensure no disruption to performance or service in the interim.