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‘Standard and Friends now prime targets’

Analysts expect bidders to emerge for Standard Life and Friends Provident after Pearl seemed to have won the war for Resolution.

Standard’s unsuccessful attempt for Resolution and its move away from its organic growth strategy also raise serious questions about its senior management, says Blue Planet Investment Management assistant investment manager Harish Haridas.

Collins Stewart analyst Tim Young says Standard has always been vulnerable to a bid and will be even more so after the slump in its share price. He says group chief executive Sandy Crombie has proven himself by turning round the business but Standard needs to acquire to improve market share, diversify and increase profitability. He says Resolution was a golden opportunity.

Pearl had claimed Standard’s bid for Resolution was defensive and said its business was highly concentrated on pensions, had low new business margins compared with its UK peers and a high lapse rate, with pension surrenders equivalent to 61 per cent of its new business inflows in 2006.

Young believes a deal for Friends could be imminent after its agreed merger with Resolution fell through last month, pointing to Old Mutual, Zurich and Axa as potential bidders. He says Friends group chief executive Philip Moore has board backing but investors are angry at his handling of the failed merger.

Young says: “You can expect to see a deal very soon. Its stock is very low, there is plenty of value to be had and plenty of suitors around.”


Exam paper

The CII’s RDR response suggests that advisers must get themselves to double FPC or diploma in financial services to call themselves professional or general advisers in four years, with a grace period of a further two years, provided the advice is approved by another adviser.

Liontrust interim profits up by 8%

Liontrust has seen interim profits rise by 8 per cent to £5.6m over six months to June from £5.2m last year. Performance fees leapt from £134,000 to £367, 000.

Fee market

Abbey’s recent launch of a two-year fixed rate with a £10,000 fee generated a significant amount of media comment. Abbey justified it by saying that it was good value as the fee was cheaper for big loans than the 2 per cent that some of its competitors were charging.I see nothing wrong in principle with […]

Emerging fund wins backing despite volatility

Despite recent poor performance from the First State global emerging markets fund, Morningstar continues to back manager Angus Tulloch.Investment fund analyst Chetan Modi says the fund should be seen as a high-risk investment but its strengths lie in the management’s experience and steady approach to investing in notoriously volatile markets.He says fund managers Angus Tulloch […]

The fifteen-year itch

By Neil Jones Technical support manager with Canada Life’s ican Technical Services Team. Canada Life offers a range of wealth management solutions, including retirement income planning, estate planning and investment solutions from a choice of jurisdictions, including the UK, Isle of Man and Republic of Ireland. The treatment of non-UK domiciles that are resident in […]


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