Standard Life

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Standard Life plc
Public company
Traded as LSESL.
Industry Financial services
Founded 1825; 191 years ago (1825)
Headquarters Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
Key people
Sir Gerry Grimstone, Chairman
Keith Skeoch, CEO from August 2015
Revenue £1,433 million (2014)[1]
£604 million (2014)[1]
£376 million (2014)[1]
Number of employees
6,500 (2015)[2]
Head office building located at
30 Lothian Road in Edinburgh

Standard Life plc is a long-term savings and investment business, with headquarters in Edinburgh and operations around the globe. It has 1.2 million shareholders in more than 50 countries [3] and 4.5 million customers worldwide, with a further 20 million customers through joint ventures in China and India.[4]


The Standard Life Assurance Company was established in 1825 and was reincorporated as a mutual assurance company in 1925.[5]

During the 19th century it opened offices in Canada, India, China and Uruguay.[5]

In 2006 demutualisation took place and the company was floated on the London Stock Exchange.[6]

The company sold Standard Life Bank plc to Barclays plc in January 2010[7] and then acquired the remaining 75 per cent stake in Threesixty, a financial advisory support business, that it did not already own for an undisclosed sum in March 2010.[8]

It sold its healthcare division to Discovery Holdings, a South African business, in May 2010[9] and went on to buy Focus Solutions Group, a financial software company, for £42m in December 2010.[10]

In February 2013, the company announced that it had acquired the private client division of Newton Management Limited, a UK wealth management unit of BNY Mellon, in a deal worth up to £83.5 million.[11]

In March 2014, it was announced that Standard Life was in advanced talks to purchase rival Phoenix Group Holdings’ Ignis Asset Management for around £400 million.[12] Towards the end of the month, Standard Life completed the acquisition for a fee of £390 million.[13]

In September 2014, Standard Life agreed to sell its Canadian operations to The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company, a subsidiary of Manulife Financial Corporation.[14] It completed this sale on 30 January 2015 for a cash consideration of C$4.0bn. The transaction included a Global Collaboration Agreement where Manulife will seek to distribute Standard Life Investments' funds in Canada, the US and Asia.[15]

In a round-up of 2014 business, pre-tax profits rose by 19% to £604m, fee-based revenue during the year grew 14% to 1.43bn, and over 340,000 auto-enrolment customers were added. The pay and bonus of Chief Executive, David Nish, rose by 23% to almost £5.5m.[16]

In February 2015, Standard Life announced it was launching a wholly owned, UK-wide, financial advice business saying it was “responding to fundamental changes that were driving unprecedented demand for advice from customers”.[17] In doing so, it confirmed that it had entered into an agreement with Skipton Building Society to purchase Pearson Jones,[18] a firm of financial advisers and paraplanners, and this acquisition was completed in May 2015 when the name of its new financial advice business was announced as “1825”[19] – a reference to the year Standard Life was founded.


Standard Life is a long-term investment savings business, headquartered in Edinburgh, with operations across the globe.[20] It employs around 6,500 people internationally[2] and has 4.5 million customers worldwide, with a further 20 million customers through joint ventures in China and India.[4]

Standard Life has major operations in Europe and Asia, as well as two joint venture insurance businesses, HDFC Life in India and Heng An Standard Life in China.[20] Its investments business, Standard Life Investments, provides fund management expertise for the rest of the Group. In the UK, in addition to its main business, it also owns three subsidiary businesses: Focus Solutions, a software and consultancy business, threesixty, a services provider and Vebnet, a software and services provider.[21]

Standard Life has a primary listing on the London Stock Exchange, and has 1.2 million shareholders in more than 50 countries.[22] It is also listed in a number of the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes (DJSI), including the DJSI World, which ranks the world's leading sustainability-driven publicly listed companies.[23]

The largest part of the group is its UK business, employing around 5,000 people in Scotland.[24] It also has offices in London and satellite offices around the country.[25]

Senior management[edit]

The company’s board of directors is made up of a Chairman, four Executive Directors and eight non-Executive Directors.[26] The board has nine men and four women. Details of the Chairman and Executive Directors include:

  • Sir Gerry Grimstone (Chairman) appointed in May 2007
  • Keith Skeoch (Chief Executive) appointed on 5 August 2015, replacing David Nish
  • Luke Savage (Chief Financial Officer) appointed in August 2014
  • Colin Clark (Director, Global Client Group) appointed in November 2015
  • Paul Matthews (UK & Europe CEO) appointed in November 2015

The non-executive directors are:

  • Pierre Danon, appointed in October 2011
  • Crawford Gillies, appointed in January 2007
  • Noel Harwerth, appointed in July 2012
  • Lynne Peacock, appointed in April 2012
  • Martin Pike, appointed in September 2013
  • Isabel Hudson, appointed in October 2014
  • Kevin Parry, appointed in October 2014
  • Melanie Gee, appointed in November 2015


In January 2006, Standard Life were accused of smearing a policy-holder, Michael Hogan, who was not happy with the way the company was being run. An e-mail sent to Standard Life executives and advisors (which was disclosed under the Data Protection Act) revealed an attempt to discredit him.[27]

In March 2007 the company announced it would cut 1,000 jobs in an attempt to save an additional £100 million per year in costs.[28] One month later it was highlighted in the company's annual report that three of Standard Life's top executives (Sandy Crombie, Keith Skeoch and Trevor Matthews) were awarded more than £5 million in pay.[29] A Standard Life spokesman defended the awards, citing the leadership's efforts in turning round the company's fortunes.[29][dead link]

In February 2014, Standard Life announced that it may move parts of their operations outside Scotland in the event of Scottish independence, if it was necessary to do so.[30]


  1. ^ a b c "Preliminary Results 2014" (PDF). Retrieved 21 March 2015. 
  2. ^ a b "About Standard Life". Retrieved 21 May 2015. 
  3. ^ "About Standard Life". Retrieved 21 March 2015. 
  4. ^ a b "London Stock Exchange Market News". Retrieved 6 February 2015. 
  5. ^ a b Standard Life history: One of the first Empire builders The Scotsman, 2 September 2010
  6. ^ Standard Life policyholders rush to cash in on flotation The Guardian, 24 September 2006
  7. ^ Barclays buys Standard Life Bank for £226m Daily Telegraph, 26 October 2009
  8. ^ Standard Life takes full control of Threesixty The Scotsman, 15 March 2010
  9. ^ Standard Life sells healthcare division BBC News, 11 May 2010
  10. ^ Standard Life buys Focus for £42m BBC News, 7 December 2010
  11. ^ Nicole Blackmore (27 February 2013). "Standard Life Wealth acquires Newton's private client division". Fundweb. 
  12. ^ Richa Naidu (24 March 2014). "Standard Life in advanced talks to buy Phoenix asset management unit". Reuters. 
  13. ^ Simon Jessop (26 March 2014). "Standard Life ramps up fund business with Ignis acquisition". Reuters. 
  14. ^ Manulife to buy Standard Life's Canadian assets for $3.7 billion. Reuters, 4 September 2014
  15. ^ "CityAM News - Disposal of Canadian Companies". CityAM. Retrieved 2 February 2015. 
  16. ^ "BBC News - Standard Life reports sharp rise in operating profit". BBC News. Retrieved 21 March 2015. 
  17. ^ "London Stock Exchange, Market News". London Stock Exchange. 6 February 2015. 
  18. ^ "Standard Life completes purchase of Pearson Jones in £1bn advice play". Professional Adviser. 11 May 2015. 
  19. ^ "Standard Life names restricted advice business 1825". Professional Adviser. 1 May 2015. 
  20. ^ a b "Standard Life PLC (SL.L) Company Profile". Retrieved 2013-04-04. 
  21. ^ Sullivan, Nicola (2010-12-08). "Standard Life acquires Focus Solutions to enhance corporate wrap | News". Employee Benefits. Retrieved 2013-04-04. 
  22. ^ "STANDARD LIFE PLC ORD 10P Share Price - Shares". London Stock Exchange. 2006-07-10. Retrieved 2013-04-04. 
  23. ^ "Standard Life plc Joins Top 10% of Companies in the World - EDINBURGH, Scotland, October 24, 2011 /PRNewswire/". 2011-10-24. Retrieved 2013-04-04. 
  24. ^ Submission to Scottish Parliament
  25. ^ "Standard Life Annuities - Compare Annuities Online". Retrieved 2013-04-04. 
  26. ^ "Standard Life PLC, SL.:LSE company performance -". Retrieved 2013-04-04. 
  27. ^ Richard Dyson, Mail on Sunday29 January 2006, 12:00 am (29 January 2006). "Is Standard Life fighting fair?". Retrieved 19 April 2011. 
  28. ^ Standard Life in bid to axe 1,000 jobs Evening Times, 23 March 2007
  29. ^ a b "Fury at £5m for Standard Life bosses". Retrieved 19 April 2011. 
  30. ^ BBC (27 February 2014). "Scottish independence: Standard Life draws up 'Yes' contingency plan". BBC. Retrieved 27 February 2014. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 55°56′54″N 3°12′26″W / 55.948312°N 3.207092°W / 55.948312; -3.207092