Lloyds Banking Group has failed in an attempt to sack Standard Life Aberdeen (SLA) from a £100bn (€117bn) mandate for its insurance subsidiary Scottish Widows, following a tribunal ruling.
It means the planned transferral of assets to BlackRock and Schroders has been delayed while the two parties decide how to conclude the contracts.
Lloyds announced its decision to shift the mandate away from SLA a year ago, after deciding that the 2017 merger of Aberdeen Asset Management and Standard Life had meant the money was being run by a direct competitor.
SLA disputed the decision and took the case to a tribunal, which this week ruled that Lloyds was “not entitled to give notice” on the relevant investment management agreements.
A spokesman for Scottish Widows said: “We are disappointed with the decision of the arbitration tribunal, and will look to discuss its outcome with Standard Life Aberdeen. Our strategy remains unchanged, which is to do the right thing for customers.
“We will discuss starting the process of an orderly transfer of assets to our new partners BlackRock and Schroders. We will continue to work closely with Standard Life Aberdeen to ensure there is no disruption to performance or service.”
SLA said it was “carefully considering the terms of the decision and appropriate next steps” but would continue to run the assets in the meantime.
Keith Skeoch, chief executive of Standard Life Aberdeen, said: “Now that the arbitration panel has ruled in our favour, we will carefully consider our next steps, working constructively with LBG to bring the matter to resolution.”
Scottish Widows had already appointed BlackRock to run a £30bn slice of the mandate in October, to be allocated across a range of index funds.
Schroders was granted the remaining £80bn as part of a strategic partnership with Scottish Widows to set up a wealth management and financial planning business.