The new owner of Edinburgh-based Standard Life has announced plans to invest in the life insurance and pension business and related brand, which it believes can help drive growth across a range of attractive markets.
Phoenix Group acquired the brand in May from Standard Life Aberdeen, which decided to focus on investment management under the abrdn name.
The sale ended an almost 200-year association with the brand by former Standard Life Aberdeen and its ancestors. This came three years after the group sold its life and pension insurance business in Phoenix for £ 3.2 billion.
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Phoenix had focused on managing closed retirement books before purchasing Standard Life. Which has become the cornerstone of the group’s new open division.
Phoenix directors yesterday said the purchase of the Standard Life brand is strategically important to the group as it continues to grow in a number of key markets. These include workplace pensions, group annuities, life mortgages and retail savings.
Head of Open Business Andy Curran said: “Standard Life is one of the most recognized names in life and pensions and we have ambitious investment plans based on its great heritage.
The group expects to be able to leverage its strong balance sheet and the expertise offered by Standard Life employees to capitalize on trends that will result in increased demand for pensions and other savings products. long-term.
The UK has an aging population and pension reforms have given people more freedom to decide how to save for their retirement. Millions of workers have joined company schemes since the introduction of the automatic enrollment requirement by the UK government in 2012.
Mr. Curran said: “The investment we are making in our digital offerings and channels will allow us to offer broader retirement options and make Standard Life relevant to even more clients and advisors now and in the future. years to come. ”
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As an example, a spokesperson noted that Standard Life recently launched a digital coach to help pension plan members get a foothold on the real estate ladder, which is called Homebuyer Hub.
As part of the growth, the group launched a range of retail life mortgage products on Monday, in partnership with Key Group.
Phoenix is refining the Standard Life brand identity to support growth.
The group said: “A series of subtle changes in the style of the brand are being introduced following extensive research with customers, with an initial brand refresh focused on modernizing the visual identity and tone of voice, and on improving digital accessibility. ”
The updated Standard Life logo indicates that the company is part of the Phoenix Group, which is headquartered in London and a large base of operations in Birmingham.
“In recognition of the profile and brand strength, Phoenix Bulk Purchase Annuity (BPA) business and share release business will align under the Standard Life brand,” added the group.
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The BPA business involves Phoenix buying defined benefit plans run by companies in the hope that it could cover the liabilities involved for less than it pays.
Phoenix has said it will invest up to £ 200million per year to develop and grow the BPA business.
Standard Life has recruited to support its growth. The group currently employs around 2,800 people in Edinburgh.
Phoenix has not disclosed how much it is investing to support Standard Life’s growth.
Asked last month about the possibility of another Scottish independence referendum in the next few years, Mr Curran said: ‘It would be premature to comment on what the implications might be at this point.
“We continue to monitor developments closely and if it becomes clear that another referendum is to be held, we will assess the issues and implications for our customers, shareholders and employees, as we would with any other potential change in the world. ‘political environment. ”
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Standard Life Aberdeen was born out of the merger of Standard Life and Aberdeen Asset Management, agreed in 2017.
abrdn owns a 14% stake in Phoenix and manages around £ 165bn on his behalf, in a deal set to last until 2031.