HBOS holds pitch for asset management PR business

HBOS, the UK's fifth largest bank, is putting its asset management PR business out to pitch ahead of a major rebrand and relaunch.

The news comes as HBOS, which was formed by the merger of Halifax and Bank of Scotland last year, confirmed former BoS group corporate comms MD Alex Pagett is to leave at the end of the month.

HBOS director of comms Shane O'Riordain will continue to lead the bank's PR, but would not say whether Pagett will be replaced.

The bank this week confirmed the departure alongside details of the pitch for its enlarged asset management business. Five agencies are in the running for the brief, which is understood to be worth well into six figures.

The pitch follows HBOS's decision to merge its three asset management arms: Clerical Medical Investment Management (CMIM), Halifax funds and Equitable Life's investment division.

HBOS has announced it is putting aside £40m during the next three years to rebrand and expand the operation, which manages £62bn of funds .

CMIM director of communications Gill O'Donoghue said: 'We are beginning to get ourselves together as a separate asset management company and relaunching towards the middle of the year. We are looking for help to deal with PR for the launch and ongoing communications work.'

On the brief, she added that HBOS's asset management is aiming to be 'more geared towards the national press', reflecting a focus on retail.

It is believed Clerical Medical's retained PR firm Quill Communications is one of the agencies taking part in the review.

O'Donoghue said they hope to have a decision before the end of March.

HBOS's asset management offering will also look to expand its in-house PR department in line with the group's expansion.

Pagett said it was his decision to leave, but declined to reveal his future plans: 'The job changed following the merger and as a consequence I decided that I would move on and take on a fresh challenge.'

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