Friends Provident to keep Lombard

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INSURANCE The insurer Friends Provident scrapped plans to sell its wealth management arm Lombardyesterday after failing to secure a deal. The group saidit had received a number of proposals, but would now hold on to the firm and "manage it to deliver improved returns". Attempts so far to sell Friends Provident's52 per cent stake in separately-listed F&C Asset Management have also fallen through, and the groupannounced it would instead offload the shareholding by distributing it to Friends Provident shareholders. Italso reported a worse-than-expected 14 per cent dropin life and pensions sales, to £701m.