It’s another set of double GOLD awards for Standard Life in this years Workplace Pension and Auto-Enrolment ratings for their Group Flexible Retirement Plan and DC Master Trust.
Standard Life’s commitment to improving member and employer outcomes is driven by data, insights and continued learning.
Gail Izat, Workplace Managing Director said:
“We’re delighted that Benefits Guru has again this year awarded Standard Life four Gold medals for our Group Flexible Retirement Plan and our DC Master Trust. The medals demonstrate the continued strength of our workplace propositions and reflects that we go above and beyond to help advisers, trustees, clients and their scheme members with their workplace pension arrangements.
We aren’t resting on our laurels either. We are committed to continued development, learning through insights and adapting to changing member needs to help people achieve a life of possibilities.”
At retirement options:
Standard Life offer full at retirement support and provide a lifetime annuity, impaired life annuity, UFPLS payments and access to flexible drawdown products including in-scheme drawdown, which can facilitate adviser charging.
They also provide access to online retirement planning tools and have partnered with Hub Financial to provide specialist retirement services. They have implemented Investment Pathways and can also provide members with access to a digital decumulation retirement advice tool via Abrdn.
Wake up packs are issued two months before milestone birthdays, starting at age 50 and include an appropriate retirement risk warnings, single page summary and details of different Abrdb retirement options, which complement mandatory retirement communications.
Standard Life use real member data in order to better understand the financial position (Income, Expenditure and Debt) of their members so that they can better manage their day-to-day financial lives.
To support this, they also offer a range of savings vehicles to their members (ISA/GIA/Cash acc) and can also create a financial fitness/wellness score based on a range of information. Standard Life provide a very good level of generic and personalised financial education to their members. They also provide information on wills and help setting one up.
They have a very strong process in place in order to help identify vulnerable customers and have a dedicated team to ensure fair treatment to all.
Member App & portal:
Standard Life offer their members a portal and a ‘true’ app which both include all the features and functionality a user would expect form an online service.
The app also has full transactional capability which supports most (90%) of the same features and functionality as the online member portal. Both the portal and app include a secure messaging functionality which also allows for documents to be uploaded and shared.
Members can also consolidate their pensions online and via the app and charges are clearly displayed in £/p as well as %’s.
Product offering & administration:
Standard Life Assurance Limited offers a range of products for workplace pensions, personal pensions, savings, investments and retirement.
The workplace administration teams are all based in the UK. Standard Life are part of the Phoenix Group which is the UK’s largest long-term savings and retirement business.
Standard Life will provide all the required member communications at no additional cost. Their system will generate autoenrolment communications and they offer a range of worksite literature.
Communications are provided in accessible formats such as large print and braille if required. GFRP offers Annual Benefit Statements (and Total Reward Statements for Lifelens clients). They have also introduced video statements at scale which are currently available to over 8000 clients.
Record keeping & governance:
Standard Life have established an Independent Governance Committee which contains an independent chairman and representatives as well as two staff representatives. They assess value for money which includes monitoring the performance of funds in line with their objectives on a quarterly basis looking in detail at fund performance, volatility, external research, error tracking, fund liquidity and charges.
Standard Life also carry out qualitative research on fund managers and will communicate to members and advisers any changes that will impact an investment.
Standard Life offer very good support services to both the adviser and employer. This includes dedicated teams to support scheme set up, transfers, new joiners and leavers. They offer call centre (working hours only), web-based and online services.
Standard Life offer full training to all parties and the system implementation process takes from 1-6 months, depending on scheme requirements, which is monitored by a dedicated implementation team.
Auto Enrolment process:
Standard Life will provide all relevant member communications, have no restrictions in terms of staff turnover and have automated systems in place to monitor employee earnings and enrol them once they meet the AE contribution threshold. Their systems will handle multiple payrolls, staging dates and all pay frequencies as well as having CSV integration with a wide range of payroll providers (including Sage and Iris). In under 1 hour their system is capable of processing over 5,000 employee records.
They offer a range of reports and services to assist the employer and adviser with certification, scheme assessment and compliance.
Standard Life offer employers a free a Salary Sacrifice tool which they have build inhouse. They provide general documents/guides on what Salary Sacrifice is and how it works for advisers, employers and members.
They can also provide help/assistance with new employee contracts of employment. The tool will allow for the import of all core individual client data, which saves the need for rekeying and errors.
To see the full medals tables and accompanying provider factsheets, please visit https://benefitsguru.co.uk/ratings/