Investors OK Standard Life insurance sale, cash return

Gerry Grimstone

Standard Life Aberdeen shareholders on Monday voted more than 99% in favour of the £3.24 billion sale of Standard Life Assurance Limited to Phoenix Group Holdings.

The shareholders of the Edinburgh-based investment giant also voted more than 99% in favour of two resolutions to return up to £1.75 billion to shareholders.

Standard Life Aberdeen chairman Gerry Grimstone said: “I’m pleased our shareholders have voted so decisively in favour of our proposals today.

“The sale of our UK and European insurance business to Phoenix is an important milestone in our company’s history and marks a decisive break from our past as an insurer.

“It is an excellent result and demonstrates our shareholders’ overwhelming support for our ambition to become one of the world’s leading investment companies.”

Grimstone said the sale would help transform the Edinburgh company into one of the world’s leading investment businesses.

However, Grimstone warned that although the UK government is listening to the voice of business on Brexit, more certainty was needed.

“We are now nine months away and we have no further certainty (than a year ago),” Gerry Grimstone said, speaking ahead of the shareholders meeting.

He said SLA would be ready for “a hard Brexit if that is where we get to.”

Grimstone added: “Global businesses have more scope for opportunities post-Brexit than British businesses.

“In that sense the Aberdeen acquisition was a hedge against Brexit.”