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The pilgrim died on the first day of his pilgrimage


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Scottish Widows Fund Chief Phillips Dies on Hike (Update2)

By Tracy Alloway

April 9 (Bloomberg) -- Chris Phillips, the chief executive of Lloyds TSB Group Plc's Scottish Widows Investment Partnership Ltd., died during a walking tour in northern Spain. He was 50.

``The onset of poor weather'' in the Pyrenees mountains probably was a factor in the death, Edinburgh-based Scottish Widows said today in an e-mailed statement. Phillips succumbed to hypothermia, the Financial Times reported earlier today. Spanish authorities are investigating the incident, the statement said.

Phillips was due to take over as chief executive officer at Aviva Plc's Morley Fund Management unit in July. His departure from Scottish Widows was announced in January. Phillips left a widow, Elizabeth.

``Chris was hugely respected across the industry and deeply liked by all his colleagues,'' said Archie Kane, chief executive of Scottish Widows Plc, the insurance unit of Lloyds TSB, the U.K.'s fifth-largest bank. ``He played a significant part in re- establishing SWIP as a leading player in the competitive asset management sector and he will be greatly missed.''

Phillips joined Scottish Widows at the end of 2003, when it had about 77 billion pounds ($151 billion) of assets. He said at the time he hoped to improve U.K. stock fund performance to win more pension clients. The unit had about 102 billion pounds under management at the end of 2006.

Phillips boosted profit at the company in his tenure, Cameron Walker, a spokesman for Scottish Widows's insurance business, said in January. Pretax profit in the first half of 2006 was 17 million pounds, up from 8 million pounds a year before, he said.

Pilgrim to Santiago

In January, Phillips was hired by London-based Morley to oversee its 162 billion-pound portfolio. Like Scottish Widows, Morley is a unit of an insurance company, managing about three- quarters of its assets for the parent.

``We're shocked and saddened by the news,'' said Fiona Baker, a spokeswoman for Morley Fund Management in an interview today. ``It's way too early to even start thinking,'' about Phillips's replacement, she said.

Phillips died at the start of what was to have been a five- week walking tour along the pilgrim's route to Santiago de Compostela, the Financial Times reported earlier today.

Phillips studied philosophy, politics and economics at Oxford University, the newspaper said. He was a policy adviser to the Social Democratic party before starting his financial career with Morgan Grenfell & Co. in 1983 in international banking, the Financial Times said.

At the time of his death, Phillips also was chairman of the Association of British Insurers' investment committee, which represents the U.K.'s largest shareholders, the FT said. ... fer=europe
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