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HBOS will merge brands in bid to be top-five player

HBOS is pitching to become a top five player in the retail investment market with the launch of a new giant asset management arm in the fourth quarter of next year.

The new firm will bring together the investment operations of Halifax, Clerical Medical and Equitable Life, and will begin with a series of fund mergers and launches to establish a comprehensive fund range.

The firm will be branded under an entirely new name, with the Clerical Medical, Equitable and Halifax investment brands phased out from the main product range. However, the Halifax brand will remain for products sold through its branches and tied salesforce.

The firm will start with total funds under management of £70bn, making it one of the biggest UK houses from the outset.

Managing director Gary Mairs says the firm will look to concentrate on building its name in the UK equity and bond fund markets but will aim to offer funds in all sectors.

The firm will be run by chief executive Douglas Ferrans, who joined from Britannic Asset Management earlier this year.

Mairs says: “We are signalling the strategic intention to be a top five player in the retail market. HBOS has got a lot of firepower. The product areas where we are able to excel are all around UK equity and bonds. That is where most of our resources are deployed and these are the volume sectors of the market. But we are also looking at some more innovative product areas as well.”

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