One of Scotland's biggest financial services company is to axe up to 70 jobs in its IT department - with most of the cuts coming north of the Border.
Workers at Standard Life Aberdeen, which was created from the merger of Aberdeen Investment and Standard Life two years ago, were summoned into a meeting this afternoon and told that IT services would be outsourced to US-headquartered IT services company Cognizent, which has a large number of employees based in India.
The vast majority of the department's staff - 42 contractors and five permanent staff - will lose their jobs by the end of the year. Staff were told around 25 people will be retained in their current roles, while a further 27 were told they could be moved over to work for Cognizent.
Workers told The Scotsman they believed the numbers of jobs lost could run into the hundreds. However, this was denied by Standard Life Aberdeen.
Most of the IT department is based in Edinburgh, while a minority of those affected work in Aberdeen and London.
The company, which is led by chief executive Keith Skeoch, said the cuts were part of a planned three-year transformation as part of the 2017 merger. It announced the tie-up would result in 800 job losses - around 10 per cent of the workforce.
One worker, who did not want to be named, said: "During the day, everyone was called into a meeting, we were told to drop everything and go. I thought it was just the contractors who were affected, but it was the permanent staff too.
"No-one saw it coming. When we heard about the meeting, we thought it would be about management teams, something like that. Everyone is just deflated, no-one thought this would happen."
He added: "They think it is cheaper in the short term, but they're not thinking long term."
A spokesman for Standard Life Aberdeen said: “This is part of the overall merger and integration plan set out in 2017. Those colleagues transferring to our strategic IT partner Cognizant will importantly continue to be based in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and London. Contractors who have successfully completed specific projects are not being retained.
“The outsourcing of parts of our IT platforms will ensure we continue to be well placed to continue to deliver for our clients and customers.”
Last week, it was announced that vice chairman Martin Gilbert is to step down from Standard Life Aberdeen after almost four decades with the financial giant and one of the two businesses that formed it, Aberdeen Asset Management.