Lloyds has questioned Standard Life Aberdeen’s credibility as it defends its decision to move £109bn of assets away from the fund giant.
In February, the Scottish Widows Investment Partnership assets were pulled because Lloyds saw Standard Life as a rival.
However, this morning Standard Life Aberdeen announced it and Lloyds are in dispute resolution over the legal ramification of withdrawing the funds.
In a stock exchange update, Standard Life Aberdeen said the merged company is not in direct competition with Lloyds Banking Group, so it therefore did not have the right to terminate the assets.
In response Lloyds says it is “disappointed” by Standard Life Aberdeen’s comments.
A group spokesman says: “Standard Life Aberdeen is a clear and material competitor of Scottish Widows and Lloyds Banking Group in the UK and to suggest otherwise is not credible.”
He adds: “As a result, Scottish Widows and Lloyds Banking Group had the right to terminate the contracts with Standard Life Aberdeen and we acted accordingly by serving notice on 14 February.”
According to Lloyds, the management of the assets would have ended in March 2022 regardless.
The spokesman says: “We are confident of our legal position and that our actions are in the best interests of our customers, and we are therefore surprised at the course of action pursued by Standard Life Aberdeen.”
The Scottish Widows Investment Partnership mandate was managed by Aberdeen, a pure asset manager, but bolting on Standard Life to the manager arguably brings it into competition in the life space.
Standard Life sold its life arm to Phoenix in February in what some commentators saw as a sway to allay competition concerns and hold on to the Scottish Widows mandate.