The Co-op may sell its £18bn life insurance business in a re-organisation instigated by new CEO Neville Richardson.
Co-operative Financial Services (CFS), the £76bn financial arm of the Co-op, has asked Deutsche Bank to drum up interest, according to the Daily Mail.
Buyers for all or parts of the business are thought to include Legal & General, Resolution, Royal London and Aviva.
The life insurance arm of CFS includes an £11bn to £12bn with-profits fund and a unit-linked investment management business with more than £1bn of funds. In total it has £18bn of assets.
Richardson, it is understood, believes CFS should move away from a direct salesforce - Co-op's traditional way of doing business - and concentrate on its 350-branch network.
Co-operative Asset Management and the Co-op's general insurance operations are not thought to be included in Richardson's restructuring.
The branch network was boosted last year by Co-op's takeover of Britannia Building Society. Richardson, Britannia's former boss, is reportedly overseeing the integration of the two networks so from 2013 the Co-op can compete with the large banks.
Last month he offloaded Co-op's IFA arm to wealth manager Ashcourt Rowan, part of investment group Syndicate Asset Management. Co-operative Bank Independent Financial Advisers had about 55,000 customers and £1bn of funds under management.
Sources close to the sales process believe a frontrunner for Co-op's life business has yet to emerge. It is also understood Co-op would keep the business if bidders do not offer a price that is acceptable.
Resolution is still digesting the recent acquisition of both the life insurance arms of Axa and Bupa and so is unlikely to be a contender.
Co-op declined to comment.
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