Standard Life Aberdeen paves way for rebrand after fresh deal with Phoenix

Standard Life Aberdeen, the FTSE listed asset manager, has sold the Standard Life moniker to UK insurer Phoenix Group — a deal which paves the way for a complete rebrand of the Scottish asset manager under its new chief executive.

The move extends an existing partnership between the two groups, established in 2018, which already sees Standard Life Aberdeen manage around £147bn for Phoenix. This agreement will be extended until 2031.

As part of the original deal struck between the two firms, Phoenix paid Standard Life Aberdeen £3.24bn for the Edinburgh-headquartered group’s UK and European life insurance business. Standard Life Aberdeen offloaded the insurance business in order to focus more on building up its asset management capabilities, following the landmark merger between Standard Life and Aberdeen Asset Management in 2017.

Stephen Bird, CEO of Standard Life Aberdeen, said: “The most successful partnerships in business tend to be formed on clear and simple terms. What we are announcing today is an agreement that simplifies the relationships between Standard Life Aberdeen and our strategic partner Phoenix Group in a way that will allow us to work together constructively as partners for at least the next ten years.”

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The new arrangement will see Standard Life Aberdeen pay £62.5m for certain parts of the Phoenix business, including the Wrap SIPP — a personal pension product sold through advisers. It will also pay £32m in return for Phoenix bearing the cost of some colleagues, who will transfer as a result of the deal.

Phoenix will pay Standard Life Aberdeen £34m to settle “legacy matters”. Crucially, it will own the Standard Life brand. However, the value of the brand has not been disclosed.

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Bird, who took over as CEO in September, added: “The Standard Life brand has an important heritage. In the UK, it has strong recognition as a life insurance and workplace pensions brand. This is closely aligned with Phoenix’s strategy and customer base. This is much less the case with the business we are building at Standard Life Aberdeen which is focused on global asset management, our market-leading platforms offerings to UK financial advisers and their customers, and our UK savings and wealth businesses.”

In November it emerged that Standard Life Aberdeen wants to offload Parmenion — the financial advisory business it acquired in 2016.

Parmenion, which oversees assets of around £6.5bn, was acquired by Aberdeen Asset Management for £50m under the leadership of former CEO Martin Gilbert.

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