Standard Life to open first Middle East office

Standard Life offices in Edinburgh's Lothian Road
Standard Life offices in Edinburgh's Lothian Road
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PENSIONS giant Standard Life has unveiled plans to expand its global reach by opening its first office in the Middle East.

The group has been granted a licence by regulators in Dubai to set up a branch of Standard Life International in the Dubai International Financial Centre.

Regional chief executive Chris Divito will oversee the development, which the firm said was part of its strategy of broadening its push into “high-growth, high value” emerging markets.

Last week, Standard said its Edinburgh head office would bear the bulk of 139 job cuts at its IT and marketing divisions as the group prepares for sweeping reforms to the UK’s pensions industry.

Its move into Dubai follows last month’s expansion into the fast-growing Singapore region under plans to quadruple the size of the Asian business in the next five years.

Nathan Parnaby, chief executive for Asia and emerging markets at Standard Life, said: “Our long-term vision within the Middle East is to build a leading retail savings and investments business.

“This new office will principally address the growing needs of Dubai-based clients through an intermediated business model.”

Standard Life’s current operations in Asia and emerging markets include its retail investments business in Hong Kong and Singapore, as well as life and asset management joint ventures in China and India.

The firm employs about 3,000 people outside the UK.