Standard Life Assurance owner Phoenix Group names new boss

Former Aviva UK boss Andy Briggs has been named as the new chief executive of Phoenix Group Holdings, which last year acquired Standard Life Assurance taking on thousands of staff in Scotland.

Andy Briggs will join the firm as chief executive designate on 1 January. Picture: Contributed
Andy Briggs will join the firm as chief executive designate on 1 January. Picture: Contributed

He is set to replace Clive Bannister, who will retire in March following the publication of the group’s full-year results and after nine years with the business.

Briggs will join Europe’s largest owner of life assurance funds closed to new customers as chief executive designate on 1 January “in order to effect a smooth handover”, Phoenix said.

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Bannister is credited with a string of successful acquisitions, culminating in the £2.9 billion takeover of Standard Life Assurance in 2018.

Clive Bannister is set to retire in March. Picture: Contributed

Briggs has more than 30 years of insurance industry leadership experience, Phoenix noted. He was group chief executive of Friends Life, managing director of Scottish Widows, chief executive of the retirement income division at Prudential and chairman of the Association of British Insurers (ABI). Most recently he was chief executive UK insurance of Aviva.

Briggs said: “Clive has done an excellent job leading Phoenix, and the Standard Life acquisition is strategically transformational for the group. I believe the business is uniquely placed for a truly exciting future, and I look forward to leading the next stage of the journey.”

Nick Lyons, Phoenix Group chairman, said: “Clive has worked with great passion and energy during his nine years as CEO. He has led Phoenix in a period of sustained growth and success to its current position as the largest life and pensions consolidator in Europe and he leaves us, as a business, confident and assured.

“Phoenix, its customers, colleagues and investors will benefit from the smoothest of successions between two great industry leaders.”


Bannister added: “I am proud of all that we have achieved and I’m confident that I leave the group in good shape for my successor.”

Briggs will receive an annual salary of £800,000 and a pension allowance of 12 per cent of salary. He will be able to participate in the group’s annual incentive plan up to a maximum of 150 per cent of salary and its long-term incentive plan, with an annual award of 275 per cent of salary.

In August, Phoenix posted a 50 per cent rise in half-year operating profits to £325 million. However, it also saw UK gross money inflows drop to £4.8 billion in the six months to June, from £5.5bn a year earlier.

Bannister said at the time: “The life insurance sector continues to consolidate and the M&A pipeline remains strong. We are ready to do deals that meet our acquisition criteria and I am confident that Phoenix will continue to be the market leader in this consolidation process.”

Under the deal between the group and Standard Life Aberdeen some 3,500 employees moved to Phoenix – about 2,900 of them in Scotland.

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