London: BlackRock Inc and Schroders Plc are the front-runners to oversee about £109 billion (Dh530 billion, $144 billion) for Lloyds Banking Group Plc, one of the biggest mandates of its kind, people with the knowledge of the process said.

A decision by the London-based bank is expected in the third quarter, said the people who asked not to be identified because the matter is confidential. Lloyds invited bids for the contract earlier this year after ending an agreement with Standard Life Aberdeen Plc, which currently manages the money.

Lloyds may select a sole winner or decide to split the mandate, the people said. Discussions are still ongoing and another firm could still emerge. Representatives at Lloyds, BlackRock and Schroders declined to comment.

Aberdeen secured the Lloyds mandate in 2014, when it acquired Scottish Widows Investment Partnership from the UK bank. In February, Lloyds chose to terminate the agreement after Aberdeen and Standard Life merged, a transaction that turned the company into a direct competitor to the lender’s insurance business.

Lloyds has asked to scrap the agreement by the first half of 2019 while the contract with Standard Life expires in 2022. Standard Life is getting out of the insurance business and has argued that the bank doesn’t have the right to end the deal.

Read more on the Lloyds and Standard Life Aberdeen mandate tussle

New York-based BlackRock is one of the world’s largest asset managers, overseeing about $6.3 trillion, while Schroders managed about 447 billion pounds at the end of last year.