Belfast Telegraph

Pension fund is sticking point as bidders eye AIB investment arm

Bidders for First Trust parent AIB's investment arm (AIBIM), which the bank is selling to raise much-needed capital, are in discussions about whether AIB's own pension fund will form part of the sale.

The two leading bidders are financier Dermot Desmond and Bloxham Stockbrokers/Bellevue Asset Management, with Irish Life -amp; Permanent (IL-amp;P) described as a third outside bidder. According to AIB's most recent financial statements, the bank's pension fund has assets of €2.9bn, (£2.5bn) while AIB Investment Managers had assets under management of €8.5bn (£7.3bn). The continued link between AIB Investment Managers and AIB Group is a key concern, some of the bidders have said.

It is understood there has been contact between the trustees of the pension fund, who ultimately decide who manages the fund, and the bidders.

One source said there was no legal way for AIBIM to bind in the bank's pension fund, but the talks were about giving a "sufficient level of comfort'' to bidders.