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Lloyds Banking considering sale of Scottish Widows Investment

British’s Lloyds Banking Group is considering disposing of its wealth management business Scottish Widows Investment Partnership (SWIP) to raise capital level, ahead of implementation of the international banking capital regulation.

Persons familiar with the development were quoted by media sources as saying that the 40% UK government owned company has appointed Germany based Deutsche Bank (DBK) to advice on the possible sale.

The formal sale proceed is yet to be initiated, and disposal of the wealth management business will not affect the operations of Scottish Widows insurance business, the sources said.

This move comes at a time when Lloyds chief executive officer Antonio Horta-Osorio is taking necessary measures to strengthen the bank’s balance sheet by selling certain operations.

The group was on the brink of collapse during the financial crisis of 2008, when it acquired ill-fated HBOS and was subsequently bailed out by the government.

SWIP, which had £142bn of assets under management, was acquired by Lloyds at a purchase price of £7.3bn in 2000, with an aim to increase the sale of life insurance and savings products.

During 2009, the bank group planned to offload the entire Scottish Widows including asset management and insurance division, but later deferred from selling insurance business, following Horta-Osorio’s appointment as chief executive in March 2011.

Besides Lloyds, several global financial conglomerates including Rabobank Groep in the Netherlands, and Dexia in Belgium are also planning sale of their asset management units.

Scottish Widows traces its origins to 1812, when a group of Edinburgh businessmen set up a fund to provide for the widows of British soldiers killed in the Napoleonic wars.