Britain’s Lloyds awards $40bn investment contract to BlackRock

Lloyds said that it would look to agree a strategic partnership with BlackRock to collaborate in alternative asset classes, risk management and investment technology. (Reuters)
Updated 12 October 2018
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Britain’s Lloyds awards $40bn investment contract to BlackRock

  • Award comes after Lloyds said it was yanking £109 billion in assets from current manager Standard Life Aberdeen
  • Lloyds said the BlackRock deal would begin after an arbitration process over the SLA contract termination concludes

LONDON: Lloyds Banking Group has awarded BlackRock a £30 billion ($40 billion) slice of one of Europe’s biggest investment contracts to be invested using the US company’s various index strategies.
The award to the world’s biggest asset manager follows a high-profile bidding competition kick-started early this year after Lloyds said it was yanking £109 billion in assets from current manager Standard Life Aberdeen.
That surprise move followed the £11 billion merger of original manager Aberdeen Asset Management and insurer Standard Life, which Lloyds said made the combined company a material competitor — a charge SLA is currently fighting.
Lloyds said that it would also look to agree a strategic partnership with BlackRock to collaborate in alternative asset classes, risk management and investment technology.
“BlackRock has been selected following a competitive tender process in which it clearly demonstrated its global market-leading capabilities and deep expertise in the UK market,” Antonio Lorenzo, chief executive of Scottish Widows and group director of insurance & wealth, said in a statement.
Lloyds-owned Scottish Widows and Lloyds’ wealth management division contributed assets to the £109 billion mandate with SLA.
“The partnership will ensure that Scottish Widows and the group can deliver good investment outcomes for its customers over the coming years,” Lorenzo added.
Lloyds said the BlackRock deal would begin after an arbitration process over the SLA contract termination concludes or when the existing contract expires, adding that it is confident in its right to end the SLA deal.
SLA, which is seeking £250 million in compensation, declined to comment.
Lloyds said that, after a review by Scottish Widows and Lloyds’ wealth unit of their asset management arrangements, it is also near to announcing plans for the remaining £80 billion in assets and would update the market in due course.
Lloyds has been using the mandate transfer to leverage partnerships with asset managers toward the aim of growing its presence in the insurance and wealth sector — an ambition that formed a key pillar of its most recent three-year strategy, laid out in February.
Already holding a top share of its core banking markets, a push into other sectors offers Lloyds an opportunity for growth it has exhausted in products such as mortgages.
On Monday it confirmed it was in talks with Schroders, one of Britain’s biggest listed asset managers, over a potential deal that would be one of the biggest in wealth management tie-ups in recent years.


Saudi Real Estate Refinance Co. plans up to $1.07bn sukuk sale this year

Updated 23 April 2019
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Saudi Real Estate Refinance Co. plans up to $1.07bn sukuk sale this year

  • The plan by SRC, a subsidiary of Saudi Arabia’s sovereign Public Investment Fund, comes as it prepares to purchase more home loan portfolios
  • SRC, formed in 2017, is also keen to tap foreign institutional investors for its debt sale this year

RIYADH: Saudi Real Estate Refinance Co. (SRC), modelled on US mortgage finance firm Fannie Mae, aims to issue up to 4 billion riyals ($1.07 billion) of long-term sukuk this year, its chief executive said on Tuesday.

The plan by SRC, a subsidiary of Saudi Arabia’s sovereign Public Investment Fund, comes as it prepares to purchase more home loan portfolios from mortgage financing companies and banks to boost the Kingdom’s secondary mortgage market.

SRC, formed in 2017, is also keen to tap foreign institutional investors for its debt sale this year, Fabrice Susini told Reuters in an interview.

“Our strategy is clearly to tap the market twice this year,” he said. “We are really looking at probably issuing something between ... 2 and 4 billion riyal that we may be issuing in two tranches.

He said SRC was looking at sukuk in the 10 to 15-year range, to help minimize refinancing risks. “Generally speaking we are trying to issue as long as possible,” Susini said.

He said the company was assessing whether it could also issue bonds in currencies other than the local riyal.

In March, SRC completed a 750 million riyal sukuk issue with multiple tenors, under a program that allows it to issue up to 11 billion riyals of local currency denominated Islamic bonds.

“The rule of the game for us is, like many projects across the Kingdom, attract liquidity from foreign investors,” Susini said.

He said SRC had spent 1.2 billion riyals from its balance sheet buying mortgages from local mortgage financing companies and provided liquidity to these firms.

It has also signed initial accords with several commercial banks to acquire housing mortgage portfolios.

Saudi Arabia’s housing ministry is targeting the mortgage market to reach a total value of 502 billion riyals by 2020 from around 300 billion riyals now.

The government wants to increase activity in the real estate market as it moves to revitalize the economy and is taking steps to reform the sector as part of its 2030 reform plan.

It has been working with developers and local banks to counter a shortage of affordable housing — one of the country’s biggest social and economic problems. Saudi Arabia wants 60 percent of its nationals to own homes by 2020, up from 47 percent in 2016.

The size of real estate financing relative to its gross domestic product is 5 percent in Saudi Arabia compared to 69 percent in the United States, 74 percent in the United Kingdom and 43 pct in Canada, the housing ministry has said.

“The goal of SRC in this market was to make sure that we will be able to refinance at least around 10 percent of the market in 2020, and 20 percent of the market by 2028,” Susini told Reuters.