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

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.


Huawei's third-quarter revenue jumps 27% as smartphone sales surge

Updated 16 October 2019

Huawei's third-quarter revenue jumps 27% as smartphone sales surge

  • American companies, significantly disrupting its ability to source key parts
  • Huawei was all but banned by the United States in May from doing business with American companies

SHENZHEN, SHANGHAI: Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd’s third-quarter revenue jumped 27%, driven by a surge in shipments of smartphones launched before a trade blacklisting by the United States expected to hammer its business.
Huawei, the world’s biggest maker of telecom network equipment and the No. 2 manufacturer of smartphones, was all but banned by the United States in May from doing business with American companies, significantly disrupting its ability to source key parts.
The company has been granted a reprieve until November, meaning it will lose access to some technology next month. Huawei has so far mainly sold smartphones that were launched before the ban.
Its newest Mate 30 smartphone — which lacks access to a licensed version of Google’s Android operating system — started sales last month.
Huawei in August said the curbs would hurt less than initially feared, but could still push its smartphone unit’s revenue lower by about $10 billion this year.
The tech giant did not break down third-quarter figures but said on Wednesday revenue for the first three quarters of the year grew 24.4% to 610.8 billion yuan.
Revenue in the quarter ended Sept. 30 rose to 165.29 billion yuan ($23.28 billion) according to Reuters calculations based on previous statements from Huawei.
“Huawei’s overseas shipments bounced back quickly in the third quarter although they are yet to return to pre-US ban levels,” said Nicole Peng, vice president for mobility at consultancy Canalys.
“The Q3 result is truly impressive given the tremendous pressure the company is facing. But it is worth noting that strong shipments were driven by devices launched pre-US ban, and the long-term outlook is still dim,” she added.
The company said it has shipped 185 million smartphones so far this year. Based on the company’s previous statements and estimates from market research firm Strategy Analytics, that indicates a 29% surge in third-quarter smartphone shipments.
Still, growth in the third quarter slowed from the 39% increase the company reported in the first quarter. Huawei did not break out figures for the second quarter either, but has said revenue rose 23.2% in the first half of the year.
“Our continued strong performance in Q3 shows our customers’ trust in Huawei, our technology and services, despite the actions and unfounded allegations against us by some national governments,” Huawei spokesman Joe Kelly told Reuters.
The US government alleges Huawei is a national security risk as its equipment could be used by Beijing to spy. Huawei has repeatedly denied its products pose a security threat.
The company, which is now trying to reduce its reliance on foreign technology, said last month that it has started making 5G base stations without US components.
It is also developing its own mobile operating system as the curbs cut its access to Google’s Android operating system, though analysts are skeptical that Huawei’s Harmony system is yet a viable alternative.
Still, promotions and patriotic purchases have driven Huawei’s smartphone sales in China — surging by a nearly a third compared to a record high in the June quarter — helping it more than offset a shipments slump in the global market.