Your members' interests at heart

The Standard Life Independent Governance Committee, or IGC, is an independent oversight committee, founded in 2015. Pension providers like Standard Life must have one, specifically to work in the interests of customers – including the members of your Standard Life contract-based workplace pension schemes.

On this page you'll be able to find out what the committee does, read their latest annual report, learn about the committee members, and find out how your members can get in touch with them and give them feedback

How the IGC works

The committee take an active role in carrying out its duties and this means encouraging feedback and input from employers and workplace pension scheme members.

What the Independent Governance Committee does

The IGC’s central purpose is its commitment to the development of stronger, higher-value pension products for anyone whose money is invested in saving for retirement through a pension scheme. For Standard Life, that means the main role of the committee is to assess the value for money provided by Phoenix Life Limited, trading as Standard Life, contract-based workplace pension schemes.

Since the committee was founded, more areas of responsibility have emerged as the purpose and role of independent governance committees is developed by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). This includes, for example, assessing how well Standard Life fulfils the stewardship responsibilities that come with being a significant investor in UK companies. You can find out more about these different areas of responsibility in the annual report section below.

Speaking up for your members

If the committee agrees that value for money isn’t being provided, it will raise this with Standard Life for their consideration.

If the IGC isn't satisfied with the responses received from Standard Life it will escalate this to the FCA. The IGC also has the authority to communicate its concerns to you and your members.

Your members can contact the IGC here by email:

Listening to your members

While the IGC don't deal with individual complaints, they do want and value member feedback. They would like your members’ views on their pension plan and the service they receive from Standard Life. Their views are a really important part of reviewing the value for money of Standard Life workplace pension schemes.

This isn’t just the case at the start of a new pension scheme - the IGC focus on all aspects of the plan across its lifetime aim of providing a good outcome in retirement.

Please note - there is no guarantee that any email you send will be received or will not have been tampered with. You should not send personal or confidential details by email.


Reporting back to you and your members

As well as encouraging feedback, the committee is keen for employers and members to read their latest annual report. You can find this below together with a video introduction to its contents.

The annual report - 2022

The report for 2022 is structured around five key value-for-money areas:

  1. Our opinion on the value for money provided by Standard Life
  2. Our consideration of your feedback
  3. The concerns raised with Standard Life and how they responded

You can download a copy of the IGC Annual Report 2022  for your members:

Meet the Board Members

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Dr David Hare

Independent Chair

David joined the Standard Life IGC as Independent Chair in April 2019, and has been the Independent Chair of the Phoenix IGC since 2015 and the ReAssure IGC from 2021. He has over 30 years of experience in the UK insurance industry. He qualified as an actuary in 1988 and has held various actuarial, marketing and financial risk management roles in a number of life insurers, including 5 years as Chief Actuary, UK & Europe at Standard Life.

From 2012 to 2017, he was a partner at Deloitte, specialising in actuarial audit and review work, including providing Independent Expert reports to the Court on the policyholder impact of five different inter-company transfers of insurance business. Having retired from Deloitte, he now holds a number of non-executive roles with UK insurance companies.

David was President of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) from June 2013 until June 2014. Before becoming the President-Elect of the IFoA in June 2012, he was a non-executive member of the then Board of Actuarial Standards of the Financial Reporting Council (from January 2010).

He was a member of the Independent Project Board that oversaw the Association of British Insurers' audit of the legacy pension schemes identified by the Office of Fair Trading in 2013 as being at risk of being poor value for money, whose December 2014 report included a number of recommendations for IGCs to follow. 

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Andrew Davies

Independent Director

Andrew is an experienced strategist, marketer and business development professional. His career of over 35 years spans the breadth of Financial Services covering pensions, wealth management, life, healthcare and general insurance. Andrew has held a wide range of senior management positions. Most recently he was Director of Marketing Strategy & Customer Insight for AXA UK & Ireland during which he established their first customer centricity strategy. Whilst Head of Strategic Development for AXA Life, Andrew created the initial strategy, and was one of the founder members of the Elevate investment platform (now Standard Life Elevate). Andrew currently runs his own management consultancy business specialising in strategic change and business transformation as well as training and coaching senior managers. Andrew has qualified as a Chartered Insurer and Financial Planner in addition to holding separate professional Project, Process and Proposal Management qualifications and he is an Accredited Professional Trustee with the Pensions Management Institute. Andrew is also a board director for the Standard Life Master Trust Co. Ltd.

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Rachel Haworth

Independent Member

Rachel joined the IGC as an independent member in August 2022. She is a customer-focussed leader with extensive experience in the financial services industry, including HSBC First Direct and most recently as Customer Experience Director for Coventry Building Society. Rachel’s expertise spans strategy, marketing, digital transformation, risk management and cultural leadership. She is also a Non-Executive Director for Mansfield Building Society.

Rachel has a personal passion for ensuring customers are treated fairly and is particularly keen to make sure consumers, including those considered vulnerable, get value for money and good outcomes from their pension decisions. Rachel’s wide ranging experiences will help the IGC build on its assessment of the value offered in both retirement products and investment pathways.

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Steven Blight

Employee Member

Steven joined the IGC as an Employee Member in September 2021. He is a qualified actuary who has been with the Phoenix Group for over 20 years with his current role being focused on the pricing of new business for annuities and protection products within the life companies of the Group and supporting various projects including those related to changes and development of product propositions within the Group.

Steven’s previous roles at Phoenix have mainly been within the Actuarial team where he was responsible for managing the Group’s exposure to longevity, mortality, expense and persistency risks. He also has experience in developing the Group’s approach to determine the amount of regulatory capital required to be held given the type of business and risks the Group has on its books and also the workings and management of with-profits funds within the Group, and therefore has a broad experience across the business.

Andrew Milligan

Andrew Milligan

Independent member

Andrew is an independent economist and investment consultant, who has 35 years'; experience in financial markets, most notably at Aviva Investors as Head of Economic Research and Business Risk and then Aberdeen / Standard Life Investments as Head of Global Strategy. He currently has a portfolio of roles, including sitting on the investment committee of the Health Foundation endowment, as an Advisory Board member for the Devlin Mambo consultancy, especially concerned with ESG advice, and an investment adviser to chartered financial planners Balmoral Asset Management, part of the Progeny Group.

Andrew's expertise will help the IGC maintain a consistent approach to analysing Standard Life's investment approach following on from the transition to the Sustainable Multi-Asset fund 2022.

Maggie Craig

Maggie Craig

Independent member

Maggie spent all her executive career in the financial services industry. She has worked in the industry with Standard Life and Aegon, lobbied for the industry when at the Association of British Insurers and regulated the industry when at the FCA where she led pension policy during the pension freedom years and led the strategy for the FCA Scotland’s Office set up the FCA Devolved Nations team. She was a Trustee on the Board of the FCA’s Pension Plan for two years. Alongside her day job at the FCA, Maggie regularly lectured on financial services regulation at Glasgow College and Heriot Watt University.

Maggie is Chair of Children 1st, Scotland’s national children’s charity and chairs the Audit and Risk Committee of the Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service. She is an external examiner for the Financial Services and Regulation Skills module of the Diploma at The University of Edinburgh Law School and is an honorary Fellow of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries. Maggie has been active on Diversity and Inclusion issues for several years with particular focus on mental health issues in part because she lives with a significant mental health condition.

Reports and documents

IGC full terms of reference

You can download the IGC’s full terms of reference here.

IGC full terms of reference

Statement from Phoenix and SLAL IGC on the Covid-19 pandemic

The IGC has monitored and reported on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on pension scheme members. You can download their statement here.

Covid-19 Pandemic Statement

What next?