General Ins - Latest News - Standard Life launches UK-wide financial advice business

Standard Life announces the launch of its wholly-owned, UK-wide, financial advice business - responding to fundamental changes that are driving unprecedented demand for advice from customers.

 Today, more than half of the mass affluent people in work approaching retirement enjoy the certainty of income provided through a defined benefit pension scheme*. And, until recently, the remainder had few flexible alternatives to the certainty of annuities. Both factors have limited the need for advice.
 Freedom and Choice in Pensions and the rise of defined contribution arrangements have replaced this certainty with flexibility, creating a generation of individuals that will see advice as an essential service. This means demand for advice is likely to significantly exceed supply.
 To help fill this gap Standard Life is building our own UK-wide advice service, delivered face-to-face, on the phone and through digital services. It will integrate with Standard Life’s existing workplace and direct services by providing a natural next step for customers with needs that can no longer entirely be met through self-service or guidance.
 Standard Life, a leading provider to the IFA market, will continue to support advice firms through the continued development of platform technology, products and support services. We expect this essential part of the market to continue growing strongly for exactly the same reasons we are building our own advice business.
 The new business will build on the advice and guidance capabilities Standard Life already deploys on the phone and online. Through the creation of a new academy, the business will also be active in recruiting and training people for a career in financial advice.
 The business will leverage the investment expertise of Standard Life Investments and Standard Life’s award-winning platform proposition. Threesixty will provide compliance and support services to the new business.
 The growth of the advice business will be accelerated through the acquisition of progressive financial advice firms which align well with our operating model. This will enable Standard Life to tap into the proven expertise and professionalism in the advice market.
 Steve Murray will lead the business in his role as CEO. Steve has been instrumental in developing Standard Life’s UK advice and distribution strategy.
 Today, Standard Life announces it has entered into an agreement with Skipton Building Society to purchase Pearson Jones, which is anticipated to bring assets under advice of £1.1bn. Pearson Jones has served customers in the North of England for more than 40 years and has 39 advisers and paraplanners in a team of 102 employees.
 Barry O’Dwyer, Standard Life Managing Director, said:
 “As a leading long-term savings business in the UK, this is an exciting next step for Standard Life. We already help millions of customers to save through the workplace and are a leading provider to the highest quality firms in the advice sector. Supporting advice has been a key part of our heritage since we were founded in 1825.
 “We’re delighted Pearson Jones will be part of our new business. They have a single-minded focus on helping clients and are an excellent example of a progressive firm with an RDR-compliant, platform-based advisory proposition. We look forward to working with the team to support the growth of our new business.”
 Tim Johnson, Pearson Jones Managing Director, said:
 “Pearson Jones’ management and staff are excited to be joining Standard Life to help build a ‘best-in-class’, nationwide financial advice business. Standard Life’s focus on enhancing client service and improving the career prospects of our staff makes this a very good step in our 40-year history.”
 The transaction is expected to complete in Q2 2015 subject to conditions being satisfied, including receipt of regulatory approvals
 *Source: Office of National Statistics: Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (2013), Pension Tables 

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