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Schroders targets British wealth boost with Lloyds tie-up

Published 10/08/2018, 10:02 AM
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A woman looks at her phone as she walks past a branch of Lloyds bank in London, Britain
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By Simon Jessop and Emma Rumney

LONDON (Reuters) - Schroders (L:SDR) could soon help manage the money of people with significantly less in their bank accounts than the super-rich it has targeted so far, if talks with Lloyds (L:LLOY) about a wealth management tie-up succeed.

Schroders, Britain's second largest listed fund management group by assets under management and Lloyds Banking Group, Britain's biggest retail lender, confirmed on Sunday they are in talks, but gave no further details.

However, sources familiar with the discussions confirmed details of a Sky News report which said Lloyds would roll 13.8 billion pounds ($18 billion) of client money into a joint venture with Schroders, which would contribute its technology, operational platform and investment skills.

This would allow Schroders to access thousands of so-called mass affluent, those with hundreds of thousands of pounds, rather than millions or billions, in investable capital.

It would be the latest step in a long-standing plan by Schroders to diversify its revenues and follow other recent acquisitions in the sector as the industry consolidates.

Rathbone (L:RAT) bought Scotland's Speirs & Jeffrey for 104 million pounds earlier this year, but as one of the only large British asset managers with a significant wealth management arm, analysts do not expect the Schroders talks to trigger copy-cat deals.

"A relationship with Lloyds could be an important source of new assets in Schroders' home market. This points to management's flexibility in the way it goes to market and to its savvy around building distribution relationships," Bernstein analyst Edward Houghton said in a note to investors.

Lloyds (L:LLOY), which is looking for ways to diversify its business mix from banking, where further expansion is limited, has targeted insurance and wealth and made them a key pillar of its most recent three-year strategy outlined in February.

The bank, which would own 50.1 percent of the joint venture, stood to gain from Schroders' investment skills and greater diversification, analysts said.

Lloyds is also discussing taking a minority stake in Schroders' Cazenove Capital wealth management arm, which manages the money of its existing wealthy clients.

MANDATE

The third pillar of the deal would see Schroders secure a high-profile new business mandate to manage 109 billion pounds of Lloyd's insurance assets.

This has been up for grabs since February, when Lloyds ended a management deal with newly-merged Standard Life Aberdeen (L:SLA) which it said had become a "material competitor".

The annual revenue associated with the Lloyds asset management contracts represented around 130 million pounds.

Since then, several of the world's biggest asset managers have competed for the mandate, which analysts at UBS said could add between 5 and 7 percent to Schroders earnings.

"It would give Schroders an important scale advantage when attempting to win further mandates from insurers, given the scale-driven nature of the business," they said, flagging a price target of 3,600 pence and 'buy' rating.

Schroders, whose shares were 0.2 percent lower at 1216 GMT, saw its existing wealth management business post a solid first half, with net income up 8 percent to 144 million pounds and pre-tax profit of 38 million pounds.

The FTSE 100 (FTSE) index was down 0.7 percent.

For Lloyds, whose shares were down 0.9 percent, the plans involve leveraging its position to be able to offer insurance and wealth services under the same roof via its insurance subsidiary Scottish Widows.

"Something like this I think will be transformative from the perspective of the growth of that business," John Cronin, financials analyst at Goodbody, told Reuters.

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A woman looks at her phone as she walks past a branch of Lloyds bank in London, Britain

($1 = 0.7672 pounds)

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