Standard Life to cut 139 jobs as it prepares for industry shake-up

Picture: PA
Picture: PA
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Life and pensions giant Standard Life today said it was cutting 139 jobs as part of a restructuring at its UK business to prepare it for forthcoming regulatory changes.

The group said the bulk of the cuts will be made in Edinburgh, while a small number of jobs could be lost at its offices in London.

A spokeswoman for the insurer said there will be “only a small proportion” of compulsory redundancies, totalling around 16, mainly in senior positions.

Standard Life employs 9,000 people, of whom about 5,500 are based in Edinburgh. The firm said it was creating “more streamlined and flexible organisational structures” across its IT, marketing and investments divisions as it prepares for the introduction of auto-enrolment, which will force employers to offer workplace pensions to eligible members of staff.

The life and pensions sector faces more upheaval through the retail distribution review (RDR), which will ban commission payments to financial advisers from the start of next year.

Paul Matthews, chief executive of Standard Life’s UK and Europe division, said: “Great progress has been made getting Standard Life ready for the RDR and pensions reform. These initiatives significantly change the way customers engage with us.

“Our current model and structure has to change to meet the changing demands of this new world where customers will want to interact in different ways for different products. The changes being proposed today fundamentally change how we’re organised so that our customers can have a greater experience with Standard Life.”

Analysts have consistently cited Standard Life as being one of the insurers that is best prepared for the implementation of the RDR, because it stopped paying commission when it floated in 2006.

A spokeswoman said: “Getting the company to this point was the first step; actually operating in a post-RDR world is the next one. We’ve always said we’ll grow the business in certain areas, but there will be other areas where we might not need as many people.

“The 139 job losses we’ve announced today is only one part of the story – in some cases, teams are being moved from one area to another because they need more resources. There’s a lot of change and evolution going on in the business, and sometimes that impacts on headcount, so as we move into an RDR and auto-enrolment world, we’ll need different skillsets.”