Protecting the interests of scheme members

Standard Life has established the Standard Life Master Trust Co Ltd (SLMTC) to act as trustee and to work in the interests of members of the Standard Life Defined Contribution Master Trust and Stanplan A pension schemes.

The board of SLMTC consists of five members all of whom, including the chair, are independent of Standard Life. They meet regularly throughout the year. Richard Butcher who represents PTL, the chair of the board, has asked Standard Life to add the following comments:

I am delighted to have been asked to Chair the board of SLMTC. The board members, who are described below, bring many years of experience to their role and are committed to protecting the interests of the members of the two schemes.

The board of SLMTC is here to:

Ensure the safety of your savings

The board is responsible for ensuring that your pension savings are in a safe place. This doesn't mean that their value might not fall if investment markets do, but it does mean that they are protected against fraud, theft or the business failure of Standard Life.

Consider what's in your financial interests

We will invest your savings, taking into account any investment decisions you have made. Where you don't make an investment decision we will invest your savings in the default investment option for your scheme. We will review the strategy and investment performance of the default and will consider your financial interests when making decisions in relation to the default.

We will consider whether the charges Standard Life are taking from your savings represent good value for services they deliver. If they do not, we will challenge Standard Life to improve value.

Listen to you

We do want and value your feedback. We would like your views on your pension and the service you receive from Standard Life.

These views are an important part of the assessment of good value from Standard Life – we'll focus on of all aspects of the plan across its lifetime to provide a good outcome in retirement.

If you have a complaint this needs to be raised with Standard Life in the first instance. If this can't be resolved Standard Life will refer the complaint to the board for consideration.

Trustee's Report and Chair's Statement

By the end of July each year we will produce a report regarding how the scheme is performing in a number of areas, including:

  • Our opinion on whether you are getting good value
  • Information relating to charges and transaction costs
  • How core financial transactions are processed

Hello, my name is Richard Butcher and I chair the Standard Life Master Trust Company – or SLMTC. We are the trustee of your pension scheme – which means we oversee everything Standard Life does for you while you are in the scheme. All of the directors of SLMTC are independent of Standard Life which means our sole responsibility is to you the members.

Every year, we assess whether you are getting value for money from the scheme. In respect of 2018 we concluded you did. You’ll find lots more information on how we reached this conclusion in our full “Trustees Report and Chair’s Statement for the year to 31 December 2018” which you’ll find on our website.

Value for money, of course, means different things to different people at different times. What’s clear, though, is that it is a comparison of costs verses benefits. And we’ve considered those costs and benefits.

We considered whether the scheme was well run, well governed and whether Standard Life’s administration was good. We decided it was.

We considered whether the investment funds they provide are well governed and concluded they were.

We also considered the performance of the investment funds and concluded they weren’t performing as well as we were expecting them to and so are in the process of making some changes. These changes will be implemented during the course of this year and we will, of course, monitor how this goes and continue to monitor how the funds perform. Much more detail on these changes can be found in our full statement.

We considered whether Standard Life is very good at communicating with you and providing you with all of the information you need in a timely way. We concluded they are.

And finally we considered whether Standard Life was financially strong enough to support the running of the scheme now and in the future and we concluded they are.

Last year, I told you that Standard Life was being bought by Phoenix Group. That deal completed in the Autumn of 2018 and Phoenix committed to keeping the administration function in Edinburgh. This means there’s been no change to the people involved in the day to day running of the scheme, they’re using the same systems and provide the same investment funds.

Despite the upheaval a transaction like this could cause, we were pleased to see there was no deterioration in service.

Last year I also told you the government had introduced new law requiring all schemes like this one to be authorised by The Pensions Regulator and I am delighted to be able to tell you that this scheme has been authorised.

Authorisation means that you and future members, as well as the employers participating in the schemes, have an added layer of reassurance that we are focussed on delivering for you.

Earlier on I explained that we assessed the costs and benefits of the scheme. What we have not assessed is your and your employer’s level of pension saving – despite these being one of the factors that will have the greatest influence on the level of retirement benefits you receive. I strongly recommend you review your level of pension saving. You should do that today and you should do it regularly in the future.

Thanks for watching this video. We’d love to hear what you think of it and the scheme. Do let us know. Our contact details are on the website.

Master Trust Chair's Annual Statement.Master Trust Chair's Annual Statement.


 Master Trust Annual Statement

Stanplan A Chair's Annual StatementStanplan A Chair's Annual Statement.


 Stanplan A Annual Statement

Statement of investment principles

The Statement of Investment principles prepared by the Standard Life Master Trust Co. Ltd (SLMTC), the trustees of the Standard Life Defined Contribution Master Trust and Stanplan A.

These statements detail the principles which govern the decisions about investments that enable the trust to meet requirements of:

          • the Pensions Act 1995, as amended by the Pensions Act 2004
          • the Occupational Pension Schemes (Investment) Regulations 2005 as amended by the Occupational Pension Schemes (Investment) (Amendment) Regulations 2010 and the Occupational Pension Schemes (Charges and Governance) Regulations 2015

 Standard Life DC Master Trust Statement of investment principles. Standard Life DC Master Trust Statement of investment principles


Standard Life DC Master Trust Statement of investment principles

 Statement of investment. Stanplan A - Statement of investment principles


Stanplan A - Statement of investment principles

Independent audit assurance

The board of SLMTC is pleased to present its report detailing the control procedures that are in place for the Standard life DC Master Trust and the Standard Life Stanplan A scheme.

Internal controls for Standard Life Master Trust Schemes Report.Internal controls for Standard Life Master Trust Schemes Report.


 Internal controls for Standard Life Master Trust Schemes Report.

If you have any feedback you can email the board directly, please take the time to do this. Your feedback is crucial to the board's success.

The board members are introduced below.


Richard Butcher
PTL, Chairman of SLMTC board

Meet the Board Members

Richard Butcher

Chairman of the board

Richard is Managing Director of PTL a market leading and award winning professional independent pension trustee company. Richard joined PTL in 2008 and became Managing Director in 2010. Richard has been involved in pension scheme governance since 1985. He is a Fellow of the Pensions Management Institute (PMI). Richard is Chair of the Pension and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA), the industry association for pension schemes and a member of the FCA’s Institutional Disclosure Working Group (IDWG), a body established to create a template for the disclosure of investment costs and charges. He has also sat on the Investment Associations Cost Disclosure Working Group, the Council of the PMI, the PLSA DC Council (which he chaired for two years), the Pension Regulators DC Practitioners Panel and the Department of Work and Pensions Trustee Panel. He is a regular contributor to the trade press and has won a number of awards and accolades. Richard is qualified to be a member of an Board by merit of his significant experience in and knowledge of the pensions industry, his expertise in assessing the value for money of arrangements such as this (gathered from his role on similar boards) and his knowledge of underlying investment costs and charges. He is qualified to chair the Board by merit of his significant experience of and positive track record in chairing similar arrangements as well as other boards and committees.

Francois Barker

Board Member

Francois is a partner and Head of Pensions at Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP. He leads pension advisory client work (including in the DC and master trust sectors) and is responsible for leading, and having oversight of the strategic development of, the firm’s pensions practice. He is professionally qualified as a Solicitor in England and Wales. Francois has been involved in the pensions industry since 1995, working with trustees and employers on the full range of pensions issues. He is actively involved in the development of pensions law, policy and strategy. He has been a member of the CBI's Pensions Panel since 2000 and is an elected member of the PLSA’s DC Council.

Stella Girvin

Board Member

Stella has worked in the pensions industry since 1982, holding senior positions at Mercer and at Travis Perkins plc. Since 2015 she has worked as a professional trustee. She has an MBA and is a Chartered Company Secretary with a particular emphasis on governance and compliance, having previously worked as a Head of Compliance at a FTSE 100 company; she is now a member of Capital Cranfield’s Governance Committee. Stella has extensive experience of DC schemes and in addition to the Standard Life Master Trust, is a co-Trustee on a further Master Trust, a co-trustee on a single employer DC scheme and the Chair of a large mixed benefits scheme.

Rene Poisson

Board Member

Rene retired in September 2012 after a 30 year career with JP Morgan, latterly as Managing Director and Senior Credit Officer for EMEA. He has extensive experience of pension fund governance of both UK DB and DC pension schemes. He currently holds a number of non- executive appointments including as an Independent Director and Chair of the Remuneration Committee of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), Chair of the JP Morgan UK Pension Plan and its Investment Committee, Chair of the Standard Life Independent Governance Committee and Director of the Standard Life Master Trust. He is also Chair of the Advisory Committees of Five Arrows Credit Solutions and Five Arrows Direct Lending

Ruston Smith

Board Member

Ruston has over 30 years’ experience in the pension industry and has extensive experience of pension fund governance and management of UK and International DB and DC schemes with members from over 350,000 to 1,000 – including as a Trustee. He is the former Group Pensions and Insurable Risk Director for Tesco where, as CEO, he had responsibility for Tesco Pension Investment, the FCA approved in house investment company that manages the £14bn of UK assets. He is the non-executive Chairman of Tesco Pension Investment, Tesco’s DB Trustee Board; Tesco’s DC Governance Committee and holds other Trustee positions. He is also a former company secretary of a FTSE 250, has an MBA, and is a Fellow of the Pensions Management Institute and the Institute of Management. He is Chair of PTL Limited, a NED of JP Morgan Asset Management International Limited and JP Morgan Funds Limited, a NED of Smart Pension, a Governor of the Pensions Policy Institute, Chairman of GroceryAid and a Trustee of the National Council for Palliative Care. Ruston is a past Chair of the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association and was the co-chair of the DWP’s 2017 Automatic Enrolment Review and led the engagement stream.

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