Guardian sold to private equity

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The Dutch insurer Aegon is selling Guardian Financial Services to the private equity firm Cinven for £275m.

The sale of Guardian, a life and pensions firm set up as Guardian Fire & Life in 1821, is expected to trigger further consolidation of so-called "zombie" life funds. Guardian Financial Services has more than 300,000 policies and 170 employees but stopped taking on new customers around 10 years ago.

The acquisition is seen by Cinven as the starting point for more deals in the sector. The combination with other closed – or zombie – life funds will enable Cinven to cut administrative and other costs.