Standard Life Aberdeen is expected to change its name as part of deal with Phoenix Group, which is set to buy the 200-year old Standard Life brand, according to reports.

The fund manager's new chief executive Stephen Bird (pictured), who joined last year, is on the brink of agreeing a deal to sell the Standard Life name, according to Sky News

According to sources, the talks have been ongoing under the codename Project Hulkum, and would form part of a restructured relationship between both companies, including the extension of an asset management partnership first agreed in 2018.

The partnership includes Aberdeen Standard Investments becoming Phoenix Group's preferred asset management partner for its insurance investments.

With an official announcement expected in the next few days, the deal is set to extend the terms of the partnership reached in 2018 and the name change is not expected to take place immediately.

Standard Life Aberdeen sold its insurance arm to Phoenix in a £3bn deal in 2018, which included the group taking a 19.9% shareholding in Phoenix and an extension to Aberdeen Standard Investments' management of around £48bn on behalf of Phoenix.

It has not been disclosed how much Phoenix will pay for the Standard Life brand, or whether SLA will either prioritise one of the group's other existing brands or create a new name altogether.

Sky News reported senior figures have mulled keeping the Aberdeen name in large part because of its brand recognition, particularly in Asian markets.

(First published by our sister title Investment Week)