The new manager of a £109bn investment mandate on behalf of Scottish Widows remains unclear as Goldman Sachs has become the latest potential bidder to exit the race.
The portfolio had been managed by Aberdeen Asset Management before its merger with Standard Life. Scottish Widows parent Lloyds decided the addition of Standard Life put the newly merged firm in competition with Scottish Widows, so pulled the management deal in February, kick-starting speculation as to the future of the contract.
Goldman has just left bidding war for the contract, according to the Financial Times, as Lloyds had also raised competition concerns over the upcoming launch of a retail bank in the UK by the Wall Street giant.
BlackRock and Schroders are the only remaining bidders in the auction, which has been dubbed “Project Swift” by Lloyds, the paper reports.
JP Morgan had made it through to a second round of bidding, but has now also dropped out, according to the paper. A winner or winners is expected to be decided by the end of the summer.
Standard Life Aberdeen is still in dispute resolution over claims the firm was unfairly dismissed from the deal with its single biggest client.
At the time of merger the Scottish Widows mandate accounted for 17 per cent of assets under management and five per cent of revenues.
Standard Life Aberdeen was not allowed through to the second round of bidding, the Financial Times says.