Chairman behind £11bn funds merger to step down next year

(c) Sky News 2018: <a href="">Chairman behind £11bn funds merger to step down next year</a>

The chairman of Standard Life Aberdeen is to step down next year after helping to create the company in an £11bn merger.

Sir Gerry Grimstone's departure, first reported by Sky News , was confirmed as the company published annual results on Friday - and also announced the sale of the bulk of its insurance unit in a £3.2bn cash and shares deal.

The company said Sir Gerry would step down by the end of 2019 having taken the role at Standard Life (LSE: SL.L - news) in 2007.

Sir Gerry, who was the architect of the tie-up last year between that company and Aberdeen Asset Management (Frankfurt: 899502 - news) to create one of Britain's biggest fund managers, said it had been through "a period of enormous change".

A former privatisation adviser to Margaret Thatcher, Sir Gerry is one of the City's best-known figures.

Meanwhile, there was confirmation of the insurance business sale, under which SLA will receive £2.3bn cash and a 19.9% stake in new owner Phoenix.

By exiting insurance - a move which it said "significantly simplifies the group" - it has cleared one of the hurdles to regaining control of a £109bn investment mandate from Lloyds Banking Group.

Lloyds said last week it was pulling the business due to concerns about competition between its own Scottish Widows business and SLA's insurance arm.

The decision was significant for SLA because the assets managed on behalf of Lloyds represent roughly 17% of total assets under management and about 5% of group revenues.

The first annual results for the new company showed profits down 0.5% to £1.04bn for 2017 with net outflows of £22bn from its asset management business as market conditions remained "tough".