Pension freedoms benefit Standard Life Aberdeen’s Wrap platform

Standard Life Aberdeen (SLA) has revealed that the pension freedoms, leading to a greater demand for financial advice, has boosted its Wrap platform with the creation of Professional Portfolio Manager.

Publishing its final results today, 13 March 2019, SLA said that in response to more people remaining invested throughout retirement, due to the pension freedoms, it has launched a new model portfolio management technology on its Wrap platform – Professional Portfolio Manager.

“This innovative offering has greater digital and automated capabilities and gives advisers an efficient, scalable and risk-controlled operating model. In less than six months since launch, businesses advising on c£3.5bn of assets have chosen to adopt the new functionality,” the report said.

In addition, SLA has announced that Keith Skeoch has become its sole CEO, as Martin Gilbert steps down, and instead becoming vice chairman. The company reported profits of £650m for 2018, down from £660m in 2017.

In an overview, Skeoch noted that sale of its UK and Europe insurance business to Phoenix for £3.3bn completed the transformation of the firm into a fee-based capital-light investment company.

As well as the cash proceeds SLA received, it also gained shares representing 19.8 per cent in Phoenix, which Skeoch said allows Standard Life Aberdeen to benefit from Phoenix’s “strong position in the UK pensions market and significant growth potential”. Our share of the Phoenix results for the four months post-transaction contributed £86m to our 2018 adjusted profit.

He noted that the transaction also strengthens its existing strategic partnership with Phoenix

“We've put in place long-term arrangements that allow us to collaborate across a number of areas, and under which we will be Phoenix's asset manager of choice. The partnerships we choose are based on shared values and play a vital role in allowing us to reach clients across different markets. We believe that the enhanced partnership will continue to generate financial benefits for both ourselves and Phoenix,” he said.

With regards to its own pension scheme, it said the principal defined benefit scheme, which is closed to future accrual, continues to have a surplus of £1.1bn (£1.1bn 2017).

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