Friends Provident may sell 52% stake in F&C

Friends Provident’s majority stake in F&C Asset Management could be up for sale, it was announced last week.

As part of a strategic plan by Friends Provident to focus solely on life cover and pensions, the sale of its 52% stake in F&C is likely. Its stakes in two other wealth management companies, Lombard, an investment firm, and Pantheon, a financial adviser it bought last year, are likely to be sold also.

F&C’s three-year revenue-growth plan, announced last year, includes a strategy to increase the proportion of its assets in retail funds, which are higher margin. Retail inflows into F&C funds were £703m last year, up by nearly a third from 2006.

“We just had a record on UK retail business,” says Jason Hollands, head of communications at F&C.

The assets F&C manages for Friends Provident, which are about 13% of total assets under management, will not be affected, says Hollands, as they are subject to long-term contracts.