Resolution Life is planning to merge seven of its life insurance businesses into one under the name Phoenix Life.

The move is likely to prove controversial, adviser news service IFAonline reports, because it could mean that the subsidiaries managing the strongest with-profits funds could see them used to bolster the weaker ones of the seven. This could then lead to policyholders objecting to the merger on the grounds that some stand to see diminished returns.

A UK court will decide whether the merger can go ahead in December 2006, with the move slated for completion by the year-end. The business of Alba Life Ltd, Britannic Assurance plc, Britannic Retirement Solutions Ltd, Britannic Unit Linked Assurance Ltd, Century Life plc and Phoenix Life & Pensions Ltd is set to form the new Phoenix entity.