Lloyds plans £100bn personal pensions and retirement arm
New target: Lloyds is eyeing Hargreaves Lansdown’s market share (pic: Terry Murden)
Lloyds Banking Group intends to use its Scottish Widows and newly-acquired Embark brands to mount a major assault on the pensions and investments market.
The bank, which has regained its confidence since the dark days of the 2007-09 financial crash, is eyeing a sector dominated by Hargreaves Lansdown, the UK’s biggest funds supermarket with £135.5 billion of assets.
Antonio Lorenzo, Lloyds wealth and insurance chief, said the group wants to build its own version of the Hargreaves platform, which lets investors buy funds and shares inside Isas or self-invested personal pensions (Sipps).
Mr Lorenzo told The Mail on Sunday: “We have only around 3% of the direct-to-consumer pensions and investments market.
“Every year, more than £10 billion is moved from Lloyds to personal pension providers. Our ambition is that in three to five years, we want to grow to more than 10%.”
Lloyds’ acquisition of online retirement website Embark Group is expected to close before the end of the year. It has assets of about £60bn and Lloyds want to take that north of £100bn.
Apart from a significant foothold in workplace pensions through its Scottish Widows brand, the bank also ownss employee pension provider Zurich which it bought in 2017.
In 2018 it switched a mandate from Standard Life Aberdeen to Blackrock and Schroders and later announced the formation of a joint venture with Schroders to offer advisory services to clients with more than £100,000 to invest. It also has a 19.9% stake in wealth manager Cazenove.
Lloyds is now nearing the limit of its operations in some sectors before competition authorities may begin to intervene. It is already market leader in retail banking, including a 26% share of credit cards, 23% of current accounts and 19% of mortgages.
However, its presence in the personal pension market is small and it has no offering in the execution-only investment space.
Mr Lorenzo will use Embark’s technology to launch a ‘robo-adviser’ and to sell SIPPs. He wants to enable customers to more easily shift money from their current account or savings into investment and retirement products.
The UK’s traditional banks face competition, not only from indigenous challengers, but from overseas.
JP Morgan has acquired online wealth manager Nutmeg and recently announced it was launching new digital bank Chase in the UK. It will sell wealth management and retirement products.