The transfer of Standard Life business to Phoenix Life Limited took place on 27 October 2023. Ahead of the transfer taking place, we put together lots of answers to questions we thought our customers may ask. These Q&As are included below.
The majority of Standard Life customers have a policy with Standard Life Assurance Limited (SLAL), while a smaller number have annuity policies with Standard Life Pension Funds Limited (SLPF). SLAL and SLPF have been part of Phoenix Group, the UK’s largest long-term savings and retirement business, since 2018. We’re proposing to transfer all SLAL and SLPF’s business to Phoenix Life Limited (PLL). The transfer will mean that PLL will be responsible for your policy or plan going forward.
If you have investments, the transfer won’t change them. It also won’t change the Standard Life brand you know us for or the arrangements for servicing your policy.
At the same time Phoenix Life Assurance Limited, which is also part of Phoenix Group, plans to transfer their business to PLL.
If the Courts approve our proposals, we expect the transfer to take place on 27 October 2023. Read more about the Court Process.
Phoenix Group is committed to being a strong and sustainable business over the long term, to meet the needs of its customers and stakeholders. Simplifying the Phoenix Group’s structure will result in greater operational efficiency and reductions in expenses through more efficient financial reporting, governance and administration. It will also enable more efficient management of the capital within Phoenix Group.
There will be no change to the Standard Life name or the Standard Life brand as a result of the transfer. Standard Life is an important brand for Phoenix Group. You will continue to see it being used and you may have already spotted our television adverts. You can expect the same Standard Life experience from the same teams.
SLAL, SLPF and Phoenix Life Assurance Limited (PLAL) are planning to transfer all of their business to PLL.
All of these companies are part of Phoenix Group, the UK’s largest long-term savings and retirement business. We expect the transfer to take place on 27 October 2023. To transfer these policies we must follow a rigorous legal and regulatory process designed to protect customers.
More about Phoenix
Phoenix Group is the UK’s largest long-term savings and retirement business. The Group has a number of market leading brands, one of which is Standard Life.
The majority of Standard Life customers have a policy with SLAL and a small group of customers have a policy with SLPF. SLAL, along with SLPF, was acquired by Phoenix Group in 2018 and continues to operate as a successful business using the well-known Standard Life brand.
As SLAL and SLPF, the legal entities, and their products remained unchanged, there was no direct change or impact for our customers when these entities became part of Phoenix Group. Given this, we did not carry out a mailing to customers, however we kept our website up to date with information about what was happening. You can read more about this at www.standardlife.co.uk /about
About the Process
Our customers are protected by a rigorous legal and regulatory process which is designed to ensure that our customers are treated fairly and not materially adversely affected by the transfer. This process includes;
consultation with the regulators (including the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)),
seeking approval of the Scheme, and of changes to certain of PLL and PLAL’s existing transfer schemes made by the Scheme, from the High Court, and seeking approval from the Court of Session in Scotland of the changes to SLAL’s three existing transfer schemes,
the appointment of an Independent Expert to prepare a report for the courts considering the impact of the proposed changes on policyholders. A summary of his report can be found in the important documents. He has concluded that 'the transfer will not have a material adverse impact on policyholders’,
consultation with the Central Bank of Ireland, the regulator in Ireland. This is because as part of the transfer we are proposing to make changes to the 2019 Scheme which transferred SLAL’s European business to Standard Life International DAC, which is to continue after the Scheme,
consultation with the Jersey Financial Services Commission and the Guernsey Financial Services Commission. This is because for customers who have a policy that forms part of the business carried on in or from within Jersey, or for customers resident in Guernsey, their policies will transfer under separate schemes (the Jersey Scheme and the Guernsey Scheme), and
seeking the approval of the Jersey Scheme by the Royal Court of Jersey and the approval of the Guernsey Scheme by the Royal Court of Jersey
The legal process that this transfer must follow requires the approval of the High Court. The High Court needs to be satisfied that the process that we’ve followed meets all the necessary legal requirements and that our customers are treated fairly.
The Court of Session approved SLAL’s existing transfer schemes in 2006, 2011 and 2019. This means that the transfer to PLL also requires the Court of Session’s approval to make changes to these existing transfer schemes. We will seek the Court of Session’s approval to;
replace the 2006 Scheme and the 2011 Scheme with the Scheme, and
amend the terms of the 2019 Scheme, which will continue to be in place following the transfer.
This means the Scheme will not go ahead unless the Court of Session gives its approval to the replacement of the 2006 Scheme and the 2011 Scheme and the amendment of the 2019 Scheme.
We explain more about this and also the role of the Royal Court of Jersey and the Royal Court of Guernsey in About the Courts.
In the past, policies have been transferred to and from SLAL. These previous transfers (or ‘schemes’) were approved by the Court of Session in Scotland. The transfer of SLAL’s policies to PLL requires some changes to be made to the previous schemes which the Court of Session must approve.
The final High Court hearing is expected to take place on 5 October 2023 and the final Court of Session hearing on 3 October 2023. If these dates change, we’ll place a notice on our website and add a recorded message to our helpline.
The Royal Court of Jersey hearing is expected to take place on 17 October 2023 and the Royal Court of Guernsey hearing is expected to take place on the 20 October 2023.
We’ll only go ahead with the transfer if we receive approval from the High Court and the approval of the Court of Session. If either Court does not give its approval the transfer won’t go ahead. We’ll only go ahead with the Jersey Scheme and Guernsey Scheme if we also receive approval from the Royal Court of Jersey or Royal Court of Guernsey.
If we receive approval from the High Court and the Court of Session, we expect the transfer to take place on 27 October 2023. This date could change. We'll keep this website up to date with the latest information.
The Independent Expert, John Jenkins of Milliman LLP, is an experienced actuary who is independent of Standard Life and Phoenix Group. He has been approved by our regulators to give an independent report on our proposals and the impact of the transfer on our customers.
You can read a summary of the Independent Expert’s report. You can find this in the table of important documents.
The legal process we follow does not allow for individual customers to opt out of the transfer. However, you are protected by a rigorous legal process, which includes an Independent Expert review, consultation with our regulators, and asking the Courts for approval prior to transferring any business.
The legal process we must follow is designed to protect customers and does not require a vote. However, you do have the right to raise an objection if you feel you may be adversely affected, and the Courts will take this into consideration.
Read more about the Court Process which also explains what you need to do if you wish to object.
Subject to the Courts’ approval, we expect the transfer to take place on 27 October 2023. This date could change. We will keep our website up to date with the latest information and where we are in the process.
After the transfer date, 27 October 2023, references to “Standard Life Assurance Limited” and "Standard Life Pension Funds Limited" will change because Phoenix Life Limited will be the provider of your plan or policy. However, we will not issue new policy terms and conditions because other than the change of provider your terms and conditions are not changing.
No. The costs and expenses of the transfer will be met from shareholders’ funds. No costs will be passed on to customers.
The main purpose of the transfer is to bring together the businesses of PLL, SLAL, SLPF and PLAL, which are all insurance companies in Phoenix Group. The Scheme will make some changes and these are explained in the Summary of the Scheme document. You can find this in the table of important documents. Following the transfer PLL will be the provider of, and be responsible for, your policy or plan. Premiums will be collected by PLL and PLL will be responsible for paying claims. Otherwise, the transfer will not make any major changes to how we manage these businesses or your policy or plan.
The UK tax status of your policy or plan will stay the same. If you are resident for tax purposes outside of the UK, you may wish to take advice to confirm your tax position is not affected.
For customers making payments, the transfer will not change the amount you pay. PLL will use the name of ‘Standard Life’ to manage this business, so after the transfer you’ll start to see references to “Standard Life” (rather than to SLAL) on any Direct Debit Guarantees. Your rights under the Direct Debit Guarantee are not affected and you can find an up to date copy in the table of important Documents. When making payments to us, you should make these out to Standard Life after the transfer.
The transfer will not affect the payments you receive, but after the transfer they will be provided by PLL, under the name of Standard Life.
The transfer will not change your policy or plan number, or your terms and conditions (other than that PLL will become the policy or plan provider). The day-to-day management of your policy will stay the same.
The transfer won't change any fund values, charges, investment choices or how your policy or plan is managed.
Yes, the way your unit-linked policy is invested will not change as a result of the transfer. Following the transfer you will have the same number and value of units as you had immediately before the transfer.
No, your policy details and benefits will not change as a result of the transfer. There will be no change to the benefits you enjoy now. The transfer won't change any fund values, charges, investment choices or how your policy is managed. Any guarantees you have, and the way any bonuses are calculated and applied to policies, will also be unchanged by the transfer.
If you have a with-profits policy, the transfer will not change the way your with-profits policy benefits or the with-profits fund is invested. There will be some changes to the way the with-profits funds are managed, you can read more about this in section 3 of the transfer guide and also appendix 1. You can find this guide in the table of important documents. We’ve also included some questions and answers relating to with-profits policies below.
Any guarantees or options that you have won’t change as a result of the transfer.
There will be no change to the value of your policy benefits or the way bonuses are calculated and applied to your policy as a result of the transfer.
The transfer will not change how the annual and final bonuses for with-profits policies are calculated.
No, your bonuses will not be affected by the transfer to PLL.
The investment strategy of the with-profits funds will not change as a result of the transfer to PLL.
We explain more about this change in appendix 1 of the transfer guide, which you can view in the table of important documents. This change will not impact with-profits policy values or the payments that can be made to them.
Your policy will be transferred to newly established version of your current with-profits fund in PLL. This new version will be identical to the current SLAL version of the fund and, following the transfer, will contain the same policies and assets.
The transfer will not affect your benefits or how your policy is managed. Your policy will move to a new identical with-profits fund in PLL and continue to be managed in line with our Principles and Practices of Financial Management (PPFM). There will be some minor updates to the PPFM as a result of the changes to be made by the Scheme, you can read more about these and how your policy will be managed in Sections 3 and 6, and appendix 1, of the transfer guide.
You can find a copy of the updated PPFM and a copy of the transfer guide in the table of Important Documents.