Edinburgh-based Standard Life plc (LSE: SL) said its subsidiary Standard Life Savings Ltd has agreed to acquire AXA Portfolio Services Limited, trading as Elevate, from AXA UK plc.

The acquisition will be funded from Standard Life’s existing cash resources and is subject to certain conditions being met, including regulatory approvals being obtained.

The transaction creates one of the UK’s largest adviser platform businesses with combined assets under management of £36.4bn, 350,000 customers, and net asset inflows of £5.7 billion in 2015.

The move comes a day after Aegon revealed that it was buying BlackRock’s UK Defined Contribution platform. Last week, AXA agreed to sell an Isle of Man based offshore business to Life Company Group.

Aside from the Elevate deal, French insurer AXA SA (EPA: CS) is said to be in ongoing talks to sell its entire U.K. life and savings business for close to $1 billion.

“I am excited about the opportunity to bring together two award winning adviser platforms at a time when the need for high quality advice has never been greater. We have a track record of successful acquisitions and an integration approach focussed on building a sustainable commercial model for the Elevate platform. Today’s announcement demonstrates further progress towards building a simplified and well diversified investment company by strengthening Standard Life’s leading position in one of our key growth channels,” said Barry O’Dwyer, Managing Director Corporate, Retail and Wholesale, Standard Life.

The wrap platform, Elevate, supports over 1,500 financial advice and wealth management firms in managing SIPPs, ISAs and other investments. It serves over 160,000 customers, providing access to over 5,000 funds from over 130 fund managers. Elevate has £9.8bn of assets under management and has consistently delivered gross inflows in excess of £2bn p.a. since 2010.

Elevate offers the ‘superclean’ share classes for Architas funds, which will also be added to the Standard Life platform to ensure this preferential pricing for Architas funds is consistent for advisers. The platform was voted “Best Platform Provider (AUM up to £12.5 billion)” by advisers at the Aberdeen UK Platform Awards 2015. Elevate also won the Aberdeen “Platform of the Year” award in 2013.

Standard Life is an investment company with over 190 years’ experience of helping people invest and manage their money. Standard Life employs around 6,500 people internationally – through businesses in the UK, Europe, North America, Asia and Australia. Around 4.5 million customers and clients across 46 countries trust Standard Life with their financial future. Standard Life is responsible for the administration of £307 billion of their assets, with Standard Life Investments, actively managing £253 billion of these assets globally. Standard Life also supports over 25 million customers through Indian and Chinese associate and joint venture businesses.

The AXA Group is a worldwide leader in insurance and asset management, with 166,000 employees serving 103 million clients in 64 countries. In 2015, IFRS revenues amounted to Euro 99.0 billion and IFRS underlying earnings to Euro 5.6 billion. AXA had Euro 1,363 billion assets under management as of December 31, 2015. In 2015 Interbrand ranked AXA the 1st insurance brand worldwide for the 7th consecutive year. The AXA ordinary share is listed on compartment A of Euronext Paris under the ticker symbol CS (ISN FR 0000120628 – Bloomberg: CS FP – Reuters: AXAF.PA). AXA’s American Depository Share is also quoted on the OTC QX platform under the ticker symbol AXAHY.

In the UK AXA operates through a number of business units including: AXA Wealth, AXA Insurance, AXA PPP healthcare, AXA Ireland and an independent distribution business Bluefin. AXA employs over 10,500 staff in the UK.



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