Standard Life Aberdeen

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Standard Life Aberdeen plc
Public limited company
Traded asLSESLA
FTSE 100 Component
IndustryFinancial services
Founded1825; 194 years ago (1825)
HeadquartersEdinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
Key people
Sir Douglas Flint
Martin Gilbert
(Vice Chairman)
Keith Skeoch
(Chief Executive)
Revenue£2,131 million (2018)[1]
£(787) million (2018)[1]
£868 million (2018)[1]
AUMIncrease £577.5 billion (2019)[2]

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.[3] During the 19th century it opened offices in Canada, India, China and Uruguay.[3]

In 2006 demutualisation took place and the company was floated on the London Stock Exchange.[4] The company sold Standard Life Bank plc to Barclays plc in January 2010[5] 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.[6] It sold its healthcare division to Discovery Holdings, a South African business, in May 2010[7] and went on to buy Focus Solutions Group, a financial software company, for £42m in December 2010.[8]


Head office building located at
30 Lothian Road in Edinburgh

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.[9] 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.[10] Towards the end of the month, Standard Life completed the acquisition for a fee of £390 million.[11]

In September 2014, Standard Life agreed to sell its Canadian operations to The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company, a subsidiary of Manulife Financial Corporation.[12] 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.[13] 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.[14]

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".[15] In doing so, it confirmed that it had entered into an agreement with Skipton Building Society to purchase Pearson Jones,[16] 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.[17]


In July 2016, a property investment fund managed by Standard Life Investments froze withdrawals after experiencing liquidity issues.[18][19]

In March 2017, Standard Life reached an agreement to merge with Aberdeen Asset Management, in an all-share merger, subject to shareholder approval.[20] It was announced that the merged company was to be named Standard Life Aberdeen.[21] This was achieved by Standard Life being renamed Standard Life Aberdeen on 14 August 2017.[22]

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.[23]

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.[24]

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.[25]

In October 2018 it was announced that Sir Gerry Grimstone will step down as chairman on 1 January 2019 and be succeeded by Sir Douglas Flint.[26]


Standard Life Aberdeen is an investment company, headquartered in Edinburgh, with operations across the globe.[27]

The company has £578 billion assets under management, making it the UK's largest listed fund manager.[28][29] It has offices in 50 cities providing services to clients in 80 countries[30] and employs 1,000 investment professionals.[31]

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.[32]

Standard Life Aberdeen has a primary listing on the London Stock Exchange.[33] 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.[34]

Senior management[edit]

The company board of directors is made up of a Chairman, four Executive Directors and five Non-Executive Directors.[35]

Chairman: Sir Douglas Flint

The Executive Directors are:

  • Martin Gilbert (Vice Chairman)
  • Keith Skeoch (Chief Executive)
  • Rod Paris (Chief Investment Officer)
  • Stephanie Bruce (Chief Financial Officer)

The Non-Executive Directors are:

  • Cathi Raffaeli
  • John Devine
  • Melanie Gee
  • Martin Pike
  • Jutta af Rosenborg


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.[36]

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.[37]

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.[38] 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.[39] A Standard Life spokesman defended the awards, citing the leadership's efforts in turning round the company's fortunes.[39]

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.[40]


  1. ^ a b c "Annual Report 2018" (PDF). Standard Life Aberdeen. Retrieved 14 March 2019.
  2. ^ "Half Year Results 2019" (PDF). Standard Life Aberdeen. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
  3. ^ a b Standard Life history: One of the first Empire builders The Scotsman, 2 September 2010
  4. ^ Standard Life policyholders rush to cash in on flotation The Guardian, 24 September 2006
  5. ^ Barclays buys Standard Life Bank for £226m Daily Telegraph, 26 October 2009
  6. ^ Standard Life takes full control of Threesixty The Scotsman, 15 March 2010
  7. ^ Standard Life sells healthcare division BBC News, 11 May 2010
  8. ^ Standard Life buys Focus for £42m BBC News, 7 December 2010
  9. ^ Nicole Blackmore (27 February 2013). "Standard Life Wealth acquires Newton's private client division". Fundweb.
  10. ^ Richa Naidu (24 March 2014). "Standard Life in advanced talks to buy Phoenix asset management unit". Reuters.
  11. ^ Simon Jessop (26 March 2014). "Standard Life ramps up fund business with Ignis acquisition". Reuters.
  12. ^ Manulife to buy Standard Life's Canadian assets for $3.7 billion. Reuters, 4 September 2014
  13. ^ "CityAM News - Disposal of Canadian Companies". CityAM. Archived from the original on 29 May 2015. Retrieved 2 February 2015. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  14. ^ "BBC News - Standard Life reports sharp rise in operating profit". BBC News. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
  15. ^ "London Stock Exchange, Market News". London Stock Exchange. 6 February 2015. Archived from the original on 29 May 2015. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  16. ^ "Standard Life completes purchase of Pearson Jones in £1bn advice play". Professional Adviser. 11 May 2015.
  17. ^ "Standard Life names restricted advice business 1825". Professional Adviser. 1 May 2015.
  18. ^ Osborne, Hilary; Treanor, Jill; Osborne, Hilary; Treanor, Jill (4 July 2016). "Standard Life shuts property fund amid rush of Brexit withdrawals". Retrieved 14 April 2017 – via The Guardian.
  19. ^ Williams-Grut, Oscar (5 July 2016). "'2016 is shaping up to be a rerun of 2007:' A giant UK property fund is stopping people taking money out". Retrieved 14 April 2017.
  20. ^ "Aberdeen Asset Management and Standard Life confirm merger terms". BBC News. 6 March 2017. Retrieved 7 March 2017.
  21. ^ "CMA clears Standard Life-Aberdeen Asset Management merger - BBC News". Retrieved 8 August 2017.
  22. ^ "Standard Life (UK): Merger with Aberdeen Asset Management (UK) - Update". FTSE. 9 August 2017. Retrieved 10 August 2017.
  23. ^ "Standard Life buys AXA Elevate". Wealth Manager. Retrieved 8 May 2018.
  24. ^ Mooney, Attracta (27 October 2017). "Standard Life Aberdeen hit by $10bn of withdrawals". Financial Times. United Kingdom. Retrieved 29 October 2017.
  25. ^ "Standard Life Aberdeen seals shift into asset management". Financial Times. 23 February 2018. Retrieved 15 March 2018.
  26. ^ "New era for Standard Life Aberdeen as City grandee Douglas Flint takes the chair". The Telegraph. Retrieved 13 December 2018.
  27. ^ "Standard Life PLC (SL.L) Company Profile". Retrieved 4 April 2013.
  28. ^ "2019 Half Year Results" (PDF). Standard Life Aberdeen. Retrieved 15 August 2019.
  29. ^ "Reaction: Assets on the rise at Standard Life Aberdeen but shares dip". Retrieved 15 August 2019.
  30. ^ "Standard Life and Aberdeen Asset Management complete £11bn merger to create Europe's second-biggest fund manager". This is Money. 14 August 2017. Retrieved 14 August 2017.
  31. ^ "Standard Life and Aberdeen Asset complete £11bn merger". The Scotsman. 14 August 2017. Retrieved 14 August 2017.
  32. ^ Sullivan, Nicola (8 December 2010). "Standard Life acquires Focus Solutions to enhance corporate wrap | News". Employee Benefits. Archived from the original on 5 May 2013. Retrieved 4 April 2013. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  33. ^ "STANDARD LIFE PLC ORD 10P Share Price - Shares". London Stock Exchange. 10 July 2006. Archived from the original on 18 June 2013. Retrieved 4 April 2013. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  34. ^ "Standard Life plc Joins Top 10% of Companies in the World - EDINBURGH, Scotland, October 24, 2011 /PRNewswire/". 24 October 2011. Retrieved 4 April 2013.
  35. ^ "Board of Directors". Standard Life Aberdeen. Retrieved 15 August 2019.
  36. ^ Richard Dyson, Mail on Sunday29 January 2006, 12:00 am (29 January 2006). "Is Standard Life fighting fair?". Retrieved 19 April 2011.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  37. ^ Treanor, Jill; Treanor, Jill (26 January 2007). "Standard Life boss apologises for making racist remark". Retrieved 14 April 2017 – via The Guardian.
  38. ^ Standard Life in bid to axe 1,000 jobs Evening Times, 23 March 2007
  39. ^ a b "Fury at £5m for Standard Life bosses". Retrieved 19 April 2011.
  40. ^ BBC (27 February 2014). "Scottish independence: Standard Life draws up 'Yes' contingency plan". BBC. Retrieved 27 February 2014.

External links[edit]