Standard Life Aberdeen
|Public limited company|
|Traded as||LSE: SLA|
FTSE 100 Component
|Headquarters||Edinburgh, Scotland, UK|
|Sir Gerry Grimstone, Chairman|
Sir Douglas Flint, Incoming Chairman from 1 January 2019
Martin Gilbert, Co-Chief Executive
Keith Skeoch, Co-Chief Executive
|Revenue||£16,980 million (2017)|
|£964 million (2017)|
|£732 million (2017)|
Standard Life Aberdeen plc is an investment company with headquarters in Edinburgh and operations around the globe. In March 2017, Standard Life reached an agreement to merge with the investment company Aberdeen Asset Management. Standard Life was renamed Standard Life Aberdeen on 14 August 2017. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.
The Standard Life Assurance Company was established in 1825 and was reincorporated as a mutual assurance company in 1925. During the 19th century it opened offices in Canada, India, China and Uruguay.
In 2006 demutualisation took place and the company was floated on the London Stock Exchange. The company sold Standard Life Bank plc to Barclays plc in January 2010 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. It sold its healthcare division to Discovery Holdings, a South African business, in May 2010 and went on to buy Focus Solutions Group, a financial software company, for £42m in December 2010.
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. 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. Towards the end of the month, Standard Life completed the acquisition for a fee of £390 million.
In September 2014, Standard Life agreed to sell its Canadian operations to The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company, a subsidiary of Manulife Financial Corporation. 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. 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.
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". In doing so, it confirmed that it had entered into an agreement with Skipton Building Society to purchase Pearson Jones, 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" – a reference to the year Standard Life was founded.
In March 2017, Standard Life reached an agreement to merge with Aberdeen Asset Management, in an all-share merger, subject to shareholder approval. It was announced that the merged company was to be named Standard Life Aberdeen. This was achieved by Standard Life being renamed Standard Life Aberdeen on 14 August 2017.
In May 2017, Standard Life acquired the loss making AXA Portfolio Services for £31 million. This company housed AXA Elevate, the investment platform from Axa. At the time of acquisition the platform held £9.8 billion of client assets, boosting the total level of assets held on Standard Life platforms to £36.4 billion.
In October 2017, it was reported that there had been withdrawals of $10 billion from Standard Life Aberdeen's mutual funds over the prior year.
In February 2018, Standard Life Aberdeen announced its intention to sell its insurance business to Phoenix for £3.2 billion, marking a transition away from its insurance roots to asset management.
The company has £670 billion under management making it Europe's second largest fund manager after Legal & General. It has offices in 50 cities providing services to clients in 80 countries and employs 1,000 investment professionals.
In the UK, Standard Life Aberdeen also owns three subsidiary businesses: Focus Solutions, a software and consultancy business, threesixty, a services provider and Vebnet, a software and services provider.
Standard Life Aberdeen has a primary listing on the London Stock Exchange. It is also listed in a number of the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI), including the DJSI World, which ranks the world's leading sustainability-driven publicly listed companies.
The company board of directors is made up of a Chairman, four Executive Directors and twelve Non-Executive Directors.
The Executive Directors are:
- Martin Gilbert (Co-Chief Executive)
- Keith Skeoch (Co-Chief Executive)
- Rod Paris (Chief Investment Officer)
- Bill Rattray (Chief Financial Officer)
The Non-Executive Directors are:
- Sir Gerry Grimstone (Chairman)
- Simon Troughton (Deputy Chairman)
- Julie Chakraverty
- John Devine
- Gerhard Fusenig
- Melanie Gee
- Richard Mully
- Kevin Parry
- Lynn Peacock
- Martin Pike
- Jutta af Rosenborg
- Akira Suzuki
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.
In January 2007, the head of Standard Life's life and pensions business, Trevor Matthews, used the racist phrase "nigger in the woodpile" while giving a presentation at one of the company's Edinburgh offices. After issuing an apology, Mr Matthews remained in his job and no disciplinary action was taken.
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. 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. A Standard Life spokesman defended the awards, citing the leadership's efforts in turning round the company's fortunes.
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.
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- Standard Life buys Focus for £42m BBC News, 7 December 2010
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- "Board of Directors". Standard Life Aberdeen. Retrieved 14 August 2017.
- Richard Dyson, Mail on Sunday29 January 2006, 12:00 am (29 January 2006). "Is Standard Life fighting fair?". Thisismoney.co.uk. Retrieved 19 April 2011.
- Treanor, Jill; Treanor, Jill (26 January 2007). "Standard Life boss apologises for making racist remark". Retrieved 14 April 2017 – via The Guardian.
- Standard Life in bid to axe 1,000 jobs Evening Times, 23 March 2007
- "Fury at £5m for Standard Life bosses". Edinburghnews.scotsman.com. Retrieved 19 April 2011.
- BBC (27 February 2014). "Scottish independence: Standard Life draws up 'Yes' contingency plan". BBC. Retrieved 27 February 2014.
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