Scottish Widows set for merger talks with Standard Life

The firm said that 95% of Aberdeen's shareholders had approved the deal, describing it as "overwhelming support".

Standard Life (LON:SL) could be poised to merge with rival Scottish Widows, The Sunday Times has revealed.

Lloyds Banking Group-owned Scottish Widows is in the top five of United Kingdom life insurance providers by reserves, with £110bn of assets under management.

Today shareholders from both Standard Life and Aberdeen will vote on the merger.

As part of the deal, which will complete by mid-August, Standard Life and Aberdeen plan to cut around 800 jobs over three years to meet a £200m cost savings target.

The deal has been billed as a merger of equals and will give Standard Life shareholders two-thirds of the combined entity with its chairman, Sir Gerry Grimstone, overseeing an equally combined board.

However, the paper reports no talks can begin until shareholders vote on Standard Life's merger with Aberdeen.

"Scottish Widows has largely shaken off its auto-enrolment woes and by the end of 2017, Lloyds Banking Group will have spent £70 million on upgrading Scottish Widows' digital proposition".

The firm bought the Scottish Widows Investment Partnership (SWIP) business back in 2013, formerly owned by Lloyds, while the bank has a 10% stake in Aberdeen.

As well as institutional shareholders, Standard Life will also have to convince a sizeable number of retail investors, which make up half of its share register.

It said the combined group "will benefit from strategic relationships with a number of leading global organisations, including Lloyds Banking Group".

Vanessa Coleman