City & Corporate: Lloyds' agencies put on alert

Insurance Banking behemoth puts its general PR accounts out to pitch.

Lloyds Banking Group has put its incumbent agencies on alert by placing its general life, pensions and investments PR accounts up for pitch.

The review primarily covers its Scottish Widows insurance brand, which is in the process of incorporating Clerical Medical.

Its key six-figure corporate and consumer financial services brief is currently held by Lansons Communications, which is though to be repitching for the business. Lansons successfully repitched for its Scottish Widows account in 2006.

The review, which is thought to be in its early stages, also encompasses the six-figure retained public affairs account held by Cicero, which has worked with Scottish Widows since 2004.

Ross Keany, head of media relations at Lloyds Banking Group, said: 'It is sensible to periodically review agency support to ensure it is appropriate for the group, as it changes and offers the best value for money.'

It is thought Lloyds' Scotland-specific PR operation for the Lloyds Banking Group itself also falls within the remit of the review.

Agency pitches will be heard by John Penman, the ex-Sunday Times business editor for Scotland, who now heads the communications team that combines the media and public affairs functions of Scottish Widows, Clerical Medical and General Insurance. It is understood Lloyds TSB's car and home insurance PR work is not included in the pitch.

Last year, Lloyds' life insurance assets, including Clerical Medical and Scottish Widows, were strongly linked with a sale to Clive Cowdery's Resolution vehicle.

However, Lloyds instead divested its 70 per cent stake in motor insurance business Esure to Esure's founder Peter Wood for about £185m in February of this year.

Separately, Lloyds International Private Banking, the private banking arm of the Lloyds Banking Group, has handed a global comms brief to Grayling.

The 12-month PR programme will be managed from Grayling's London office, with a particular focus on the UK, Europe, the Middle East and Latin America.

Grayling has been briefed with raising the profile of the business in these key markets, as well as handling day-to-day media relations activity. The specialist institution provides banking services to high net worth individuals.

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