Lloyds is preparing to offload Scottish Widows as part of a review by the bank’s chief executive António Horta-Osório, The Times reports.
Osório is expected to set out his strategy by the end of June, with Lloyds expected to focus on core banking services.
Resolution, which has already bought Friends Provident and Axa’s life and pensions business, is seen as a favourite to acquire Scottish Widows. The life consolidation firm was previously linked with a bid for Lloyds’ insurance brands in 2009.
Scottish Widows is expected to be priced at between £5bn and £7bn. Lloyds is also thought to be considering selling Scottish Widows’ investment arm, Scottish Widows Investment Partnership, with Resolution again a possible suitor.
In January, it was announced that Andy Briggs is to replace Trevor Matthews as chief executive of the rebranded Friends Life later this year.
Briggs was previously chief executive of Scottish Widows before becoming chief executive of general insurance at Lloyds Banking Group, a role he took on following the merger of Clerical Medical and Scottish Widows which saw Phil Loney become managing director of life, pension and investments businesses. Loney has since been appointed Royal London chief executive.
Archie Kane, a former chief executive of Scottish Widows, retired from his role as Lloyds executive director in March, further fuelling speculation that the life and pensions brand could be sold off.
Lloyds says it does not comment on “market speculation”.
A Resolution spokesman says: “Resolution gets linked with deals all the time. This is pure market speculation so it would be unhelpful for us to make any comment.”