Phoenix buys Standard Life brand

Tom Ellis reports

Phoenix has bought the Standard Life brand from Standard Life Aberdeen as part of another wide-ranging deal between the two financial giants.

This latest move is an acceleration of the strategic partnership the firms entered into after the £3.3bn deal Phoenix made for Standard Life Assurance in 2018. That deal saw around 3,500 employees move to Phoenix, 2,800 of whom were based in Edinburgh.

Standard Life Aberdeen (SLA) also became a leading shareholder in Phoenix as part of this deal and, as a result, owns around 14% of the company.  

Phoenix now owns the Standard Life brand and marketing, which means life customers of SLA will now have their end-to-end customer experience managed by Phoenix. A further 60 employees will join Phoenix. Ownership of the Standard Life brand is a “key enabler” for delivering Phoenix’s workplace customer savings and investments growth strategies “at pace”, the company said.

Going the other way is the Phoenix Wrap SIPP, Wrap Onshore Bond and Trustee Investment Plan, which will be owned by SLA. The propositions were largely sold via SLA’s Wrap Platform and the businesses altogether had assets under administration of £34bn. 

As for the client service and proposition agreement that was agreed between the two firms as part of the 2018 deal for Standard Life Assurance, that has now been dissolved. SLA’s right to first refusal to provide advice or non-insured savings that could have been offered as part of any future long-term savings proposition will be removed. Responsibility for distribution and marketing will lie at Phoenix’s door. 

The deal has also seen Phoenix extend its 10-year strategic asset management partnership with Aberdeen Standard Investments for another two and a half years. It now stretches to February 2031.

As part of the whole transaction, Phoenix will also receive around £61m net in cash.

Phoenix CEO Andy Briggs said: “This agreement is a natural progression of our strong strategic partnership with SLA and significantly simplifies our relationship.

“I am delighted that Phoenix now owns all of the life and pensions business of Standard Life, including the brand and all distribution and marketing, and we are committed to investing in this business. This will enable Phoenix to accelerate the delivery of a broader set of product and service propositions to meet the financial needs of our customers as they journey to and through retirement.”