In a deal that had been widely predicted, Resolution Life has concluded the purchase of UK retail bank Abbey's life funds for GBP3.6 billion.

The agreement makes Resolution one of the biggest players in UK life insurance with 7 million customers and a total of GBP63 billion in assets under management.

This transaction substantially increases the scale of Resolution’s business and delivers on our stated consolidation strategy, said chairman Clive Cowdery.

The sale is thought to have been orchestrated by Abbey’s owner, Spanish bank Banco Santander, and is believed to be an indication of the Iberian outfit’s desire for further retail banking acquisitions in the UK.