Standard Life swoops for City fund firm Ignis

Michael Bow
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STANDARD Life is on the verge of clinching a £400m deal to buy City funds group Ignis Asset Management, the latest tie-up in a wave of consolidations.

The Scottish insurer, which runs £184bn through its Standard Life Investments brand, confirmed last night it was in exclusive talks with Ignis’ FTSE-listed owner Phoenix Group. The deal, which will be the fourth major acquisition of a UK fund management group in the last 12 months, could be unveiled alongside Phoenix Group’s full year results on Wednesday.

Ignis, which runs the well-regarded absolute return government bond fund, traces its roots back to the money management arm of Britannia Building Society and runs £68bn.

Buying Ignis would propel Standard Life Investments past its rivals Aviva Investors and M&G with over £250bn of assets.

The takeover adds to growing consolidation of the sector following Schroders’ £424m takeover of Cazenove in July and Aberdeen’s £660m purchase of Scottish Widows Investment Partnership in November.

Rival F&C Investments is also under offer to be acquired by Bank of Montreal for £700m.

It is not clear how Standard Life is funding the takeover although it generated around £582m of spare cash last year.

Last year it paid £83.5m to add Newton Private Clients to its the wealth management division.

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