Standard Life eyes 400,000 new clients

STANDARD Life yesterday said it was preparing for an “explosion” in its UK business as 400,000 new customers could start saving into its pension schemes for the first time next year.

The life and pensions group said it had ramped up investment in pension management software as it prepares for an expected £150bn of pension money to move around UK schemes in the next five years.

New regulation will require about 1.3m UK businesses to auto-enrol employees into pension schemes from next year, which Standard Life believes could start five to seven million workers saving.

The extra 400,000 customers should come from the 35,000 firms it already services with a corporate pension plan, it said at its investor day.

“We have more assets and employees ready for the explosion in auto-enrolment,” Standard Life’s UK chief executive Paul Matthews said.

It said it expected surging demand for its online platforms for pension management thanks to the Retail Distribution Review, which will change fee models for financial advice from 2013. About £168bn has moved onto platforms in the past 18 months, and it could reach £400bn by 2014.