A pension is a long-term investment. Its value can go down as well as up and could be worth less than was paid in. 

We encourage the companies we invest in to do better

Stewardship means using our power as investors to encourage companies to improve.

When it comes to the money invested in your pension, it’s about talking to the companies we invest in (on your behalf) to manage risk, deliver value for you, as well as driving positive change. This is achieved using engagement and voting and in partnership with investment managers.

What stewardship looks like at Standard Life

At Standard Life we use asset management partners to carry out some of our day-to-day investment management activities.

For some funds we have a contract with these partners, called a mandate, that sets out responsibilities and what our expectations are.

We believe that good stewardship needs strong relationships and clear goals. We can use three paths to get there:

Our stewardship in action

Together, our asset managers and in-house Stewardship team meet with hundreds of companies each year, ranging from big pharmaceutical suppliers to renewable energy companies. Our asset managers have placed votes at meetings on our behalf. Along with our in-house Stewardship team, they’ve talked to leaders about climate change, nature and human rights.

We consider the risks and the opportunities faced by companies in a changing world. It’s all part of managing investment risk and supporting investment returns over the long term.

How we use voting and engagement to influence change

What are the environmental, social and governance factors we focus on?

To keep our stewardship work focused, we have four themes that we prioritise in our conversations with company leaders:

  • climate change – climate change presents both risks and opportunities for the companies we invest in
  • human rights we believe that companies are responsible for respecting human rights
  • nature we recognise the need for companies to protect and restore the planet’s natural resources
  • international standards incidents linked to misalignment with the United Nations Global Compact principles


What we ask our asset management partners to do

When an asset management partner carries out stewardship on our behalf we ask that they:

We also encourage our asset managers to:

  • be focused – choosing a list of companies to engage with
  • research – to monitor and assess companies
  • vote – considering our views and placing votes on behalf of our customers
  • engage – set engagement objectives and take action if progress isn't made
  • report – update us regularly on engagement and voting activities


Who are our asset management partners?

You can find out more about our main asset management partners and their approaches to stewardship and voting here:


External asset managers

As well as our main asset management partners, we work with managers who run External Fund Links (EFLs) – which means we can offer more investment choice for customers. Standard Life does not have direct control over the way external funds are run, but we still encourage these asset managers to sign up to the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI).

The PRI is a world leader and champion of responsible investment. It helps companies to put responsible investment into action.

You can find out which of our EFL asset managers have signed up to the PRI here:
Asset manager PRI signatories

Or you can look up an asset manager on the PRI signatory website


Along with the pensions industry, we’re on a journey to becoming a net zero business by 2050. Our first priority is to support a better financial future for our customers, but we want to support wider, impactful change at the same time.

To do this, we’re taking actions we think can help to tackle the climate crisis and manage financial risk for our customers. We’re thinking carefully about where we invest in carbon-emitting sectors and engaging with those contributing the most to the climate crisis to encourage real change. Find out more about our Net Zero Transition Plan. It’s important to note that Standard Life is part of Phoenix Group, so the data shown is for all the Phoenix Group brands combined.