STANDARD Life chief executive Keith Skeoch has revealed he would be “quite happy to dispose” of the Edinburgh financial giant’s annuity book if the deal was right for shareholders.

However, he ruled out selling off its life and business in its entirety, a move raise by some analysts following the £11 billion merger with Aberdeen Asset Management (AAM). Shareholders will vote on the merger in Edinburgh, which is expected to result in around 800 job losses, on Monday.

Mr Skeoch, who will run the renamed Standard Life Aberdeen as joint chief executive with AAM boss Martin Gilbert if investors approve the tie-up, told Reuters the annuity business still made “reasonable profits”. But he said it was no longer growing because the company had stopped writing new business last year.

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Mr Skeoch told the agency: “It is the most capital-heavy part of our business, so I would be quite happy to dispose of that book of business if I can get benefit for shareholders.

“However, at this level of interest rates, the capital would tend to go with the book [and] pricing is quite tight because there are quite a lot of books for sale.”

Gordon Aitken at RBC Capital Markets was quoted by Reuters as saying the sale of the annuity book could raise £900 million for shareholders.