Standard Life fined £30.8m by UK regulators over sale of pension products

Insurer apologies to customers after receiving fine from Financial Conduct Authority

The FCA said Standard Life failed to monitor the quality of calls between sales people and clients to correct abuses

Standard Life has been fined £30.8 million (€34.3 million) by UK regulators over how it handled sales of some pension products.

The Financial Conduct Authority said that Standard Life, part of Phoenix Group Holdings, offered employees "large financial incentives to sell annuities, which encouraged them to place their own financial interests ahead of their customers." The company failed to monitor the quality of calls between sales people and clients to correct abuses.

"Standard Life Assurance Ltd.'s controls needed to place fairness to customers at their heart," Mark Steward, the FCA's executive director of enforcement and market oversight, said Tuesday in a statement. "The financial incentives available to staff for selling non-advised annuities by telephone created conflicts which led to unfair outcomes for some customers."

In 2016, following an FCA report on the industry, Standard Life said that it was reviewing some annuity sales dating back at least eight years. Phoenix Group was aware of the potential fine when it acquired Standard Life from Standard Life Aberdeen in 2018.


“While this is an historic issue and one we were aware of when we acquired Standard Life Assurance Ltd., we would like to apologise to affected customers, all of whom we have already been in contact with as part of the program of customer redress,” Susan McInnes, the chief executive officer of Standard Life Assurance, said in a statement. “We have also reviewed and updated our telephone practices as part of this process.”

- Bloomberg