Cowdery in talks with UKFI over Lloyds insurance assets

Clive Cowdery, the insurance entrepreneur who bought Friends Provident last week, has met with Treasury officials who assured him that the offshore structure of his company, the Guernsey-based Resolution, won't hamper his attempts to buy insurance assets up for sale by Lloyds Banking Group.

Resolution is believed to have had talks with UKFI, the body that manages the Government's stake in Lloyds and RBS, in an effort to secure assurances that any bid for Scottish Widows or Clerical Medical won't be hampered.

A source said: "Reassurances have been made to Resolution. It will be treated as any other foreign buyer would be. This is a commercial decision."

Concerns remain among MPs over the likelihood that Resolution, which operates a private equity-style compensation structure giving the company's management 10 per cent of any profits made when a company is sold, could buy Lloyds' assets.

One government insider, who declined to be named, said: "It can't be right that Resolution can get these assets, given its structure. There will be opposition to this if it goes ahead."

Lloyds sold its Insight Investment Management group, which it inherited as part of its purchase of HBOS earlier in the year, for £235m last week.

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