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Nish hands over reins

Standard Life has ‘no plans’ to replace Skeoch at SLI

Keith SkeochKeith Skeoch, who takes over as chief executive of Standard Life tomorrow, will not be replaced at the asset management division “for the forseeable future”.

He told media on a conference call this morning that there was “no active search for a successor” and that he will continue to combine his new role with his current position as chief executive of Standard Life Investments.

Mr Skeoch (pictured) replaces David Nish, whose unexpected departure was announced last month. He  signed off by posting a 9% rise in half year profits and said it had been an “absolute privilege” to lead the company. On the media call he said it was “far too early” to talk about his plans.

There has been speculation that former star performer Euan Munro, now at Aviva, would be lured back to replace Mr Skeoch.

But the new group CEO said: “I will continue to run SLI for the forseeable future. I am able to do that because SLI has always had a very strong team based culture and I have a very strong executive team behind me. We have a very successful formula.”

Asked if this meant there was no search under way, he said: “There is no active search for a successor at the moment.”

SLI has been the engine of growth at the company. It reported third party net inflows of £5.2bn despite outflow from low revenue margin mandate of £1.7bn. These are now above benchmark on one ,three and five year measures.

There were wholesale and institutional net inflows of £7.1bn of which 70% came from outside of the UK.

Total assets under management hit £302bn.

The company added 120,000 customers in the UK through auto enrolment, contributing to a 15% increase in regular contributions into workplace pensions.

Half year operating profit before tax from continuing operations rose 9% to £299 million (2014: £274m)

In a statement issued with the figures, Mr Nish said: “Standard Life has performed well during the first half of 2015 driven by a focus on providing value for our customers, clients and shareholders. We have increased the assets that we administer on behalf of our customers to £302bn helped by strong demand for our propositions.

“Standard Life Investments actively manages £250bn of assets across the globe driven by consistently strong investment performance. We are continuing to see the benefits of our expanding distribution capabilities and strategic relationships with 70% of net inflows from outside the UK and strong growth in net inflows through the wholesale channel.

“Our UK fee based propositions continue to build momentum with regular contributions into our workplace pensions up 15%. The strength of these propositions, investment solutions and our market positioning means we have been able to help our customers with the new pensions regulations and continue to support them as saving for their futures becomes increasingly front of mind.

“It has been an absolute privilege to lead Standard Life for the last six years and to help build our business into the strong global player it is today. I wish Keith and the inspirational people across all of our Group every success for the future. Standard Life is very well positioned to deliver ongoing growth and to help our customers and clients to save and invest, so that they can look forward to their financial futures with confidence.”

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