Comment: Phoenix lands in Edinburgh

Earlier this month, Phoenix Group Holdings plc completed the acquisition of Standard Life Assurance Limited (SLAL) from Standard Life Aberdeen plc. This means that Phoenix is now the custodian of SLAL's 4.8 million customers, and over £160 billion of life savings those customers entrusted to us.

Susan McInnes, CEO, Standard Life Assurance Limited, part of the Phoenix Group. Picture: Contributed

This forms part of a strategic partnership between Phoenix and Standard Life Aberdeen which will see us work together in the UK long-term savings market. Standard Life Aberdeen’s global asset management company, Aberdeen Standard Investments, is now the asset manager of choice for Phoenix. In addition, Standard Life Aberdeen now owns an almost 20 per cent stake in the Phoenix Group. We have a mutual and vested interest in each other’s success, and I believe this will be a positive long-term development for Scottish financial services and our customers.

We have warmly welcomed 3,500 employees to Phoenix who will continue to provide customers with the same high standards of service associated with the Standard Life brand – 2,900 of these employees are based in Scotland (the vast majority in Edinburgh) and Phoenix now has over half of its employees in Scotland. We are proud to have entered the very successful Scottish financial services sector, and to have a new operational HQ in Edinburgh.

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It’s a deal that provides continued security for our customers, not least because of the significant histories and reputations coming together into one business. People in Edinburgh are familiar with Standard Life, but not so well acquainted with Phoenix. Phoenix Group can trace its history back to 1782, but the modern business was formed in 2008. Phoenix Group is a European life consolidator and the largest specialist consolidator of heritage life assurance funds in Europe.

Following the acquisition of SLAL we now also have an open business which manufactures and underwrites products and policies to support people saving for their future. This open business is underpinned by our strategic partnership with Standard Life Aberdeen. We also have a market leading brand – SunLife – which sells a range of financial products for the over-50s market.

In the time I’ve spent with my new colleagues I’ve been inspired by their commitment and passion, and encouraged by the similarities between our two businesses. I look forward to working with Standard Life Aberdeen as partners in the retirement market, and as major shareholders in the enlarged Phoenix Group. I feel we have a shared focus on doing the right thing for our customers. I feel privileged to be taking on the role of CEO of Standard Life Assurance and I’m incredibly excited about the prospect of leading the business into the next chapter of its long and illustrious story.

- Susan McInnes, CEO, Standard Life Assurance Limited, part of the Phoenix Group.