Goldman Sachs Asset Management (GSAM) has dropped out of the auction for a £109bn Lloyds Banking Group contract, leaving BlackRock and Schroders in a final head-to-head battle to win one of Europe's largest investment mandates.
JPMAM, BlackRock and Schroders were selected to progress to the second round of bids in April while Goldman joined the auction in May.
However, JPMAM failed to pass the latest round while Goldman was dropped from the race as Lloyds is wary about the UK launch of its retail bank, Marcus, according to the FT.
A person close to the auction said the launch had raised competition concerns for Lloyds. Last month, Goldman began taking UK deposits for Marcus, in the latest development of its consumer banking business, making it a direct competitor for Lloyds.
The Scottish Widows pension portfolio had been managed by Aberdeen Asset Management since 2014, which became Standard Life Aberdeen following last year's merger. The business was pulled in February, also on competition concerns as SLA and Lloyds-owned Scottish Widows are rival insurers.
Both Goldman and Lloyds declined to comment on the auction, though Lloyds has previously said there was "enormous" interest in the contract and it hopes to decide the winner or winners by the end of the summer. A sole winner may be selected or the mandate could be split.
Despite not making it through to the second round, SLA has continued fighting to retain the contract, which was due to run until 2022. It said it believes its single biggest client has "no right" to remove the mandate, and the two companies are currently locked in an arbitration process.
The contract is one of the largest ever in the UK withdrawn from a single client, accounting for about a third of the total assets that Aberdeen brought to Standard Life as part of their £11bn merger.
Similar to June 2007
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Fell 5.1 percentage points
Joins in January 2019