Calling all Mortgage Brokers! Take part in our Mortgage Lender Benchmark survey today.Click Here

Standard Life Reviews

Ratings based on 21 reviews Last review 2 months ago
3.29 / 5Good overall rating

Standard Life is a long term savings and investment business, with headquarters in Edinburgh. Smart Money People is the place for Standard Life reviews. Read and write reviews to help increase trust and transparency in Financial Services.

5 6
4 6
3 2
2 2
1 5

Your Standard Life Reviews (21)

Write a review
25th July 2018

Poor returns and forced down an expensive route I don't want.

I stopped putting pension money into SL when I came to appreciate they set up individual polices for each and every contribution - 30 years gives you 30 separate plans that attract 'management fees'. As I approach retirement, the money I did put in...

Read more

I stopped putting pension money into SL when I came to appreciate they set up individual polices for each and every contribution - 30 years gives you 30 separate plans that attract 'management fees'. As I approach retirement, the money I did put in has not grown much. Only one fifth of the growth I achieved through other schemes.
Now I want to withdraw some money, I'm told the entire pension scheme will be folded - I thought you could withdraw 25% tax free and leave the rest in the Pension Plan - not so with Standard Life. They insist you buy into one of their other schemes. I just looked at the costs - Threadneedle charge 0.75% management fee - Standard Life Threadneedle attracts 2.25% management fees.......they cash in on you - worst investment I ever made.

Write a review
4th July 2017

Customer service not helpful but product seems fine

I have an occupational pension with Standard Life and when I was leaving my job, I inquired about being able to continue with my own contributions. I found that customer service through emailing on the website were not very helpful at the time, but...

Read more

I have an occupational pension with Standard Life and when I was leaving my job, I inquired about being able to continue with my own contributions. I found that customer service through emailing on the website were not very helpful at the time, but when I phoned some time later, the service on the call was good. You get sent annual statements to show how your product is performing, which is helpful.

Write a review
19th June 2017

Plain Pensions

I have had my pension with Standard Life since my company asked me to join about 15 years ago. Since then I have taken voluntary redundancy and now I am self employed. I have been carefully advised, helped and looked after by them since then, and I...

Read more

I have had my pension with Standard Life since my company asked me to join about 15 years ago. Since then I have taken voluntary redundancy and now I am self employed. I have been carefully advised, helped and looked after by them since then, and I have a nice little package which will suit me well when I retire or even, should I wish, when I reach 55, so I can take a small lump sum. I think their customer service is always friendly and helpful and thoughtful too.

Write a review
8th May 2017

Cash Lump Sum

Requested tax free lump sum on 4th February 2017. Sent in paperwork by registered post on that day. Following many letters back and forth , rang today to find out they cannot find my file!! Just spent 90 mins on the phone going over everything again....

Read more

Requested tax free lump sum on 4th February 2017. Sent in paperwork by registered post on that day. Following many letters back and forth , rang today to find out they cannot find my file!! Just spent 90 mins on the phone going over everything again. Very poor customer service indeed.

Write a review
17th January 2017

I would not recommend.

All I want to do is take out some money from my pension. Their website says "its easy to withdraw from your pension". Not its not. Having spoken to an advisor for 45 minutes I was then told I would have to speak to another advisor for an hour,...

Read more

All I want to do is take out some money from my pension. Their website says "its easy to withdraw from your pension". Not its not. Having spoken to an advisor for 45 minutes I was then told I would have to speak to another advisor for an hour, possibly longer. The questions asked are far too personal. Their opening hours are 9am to 5pm Mon to Friday, not a lot of good if you work 8.30am to 5.30pm and only have 45 minutes for lunch when they make you wait 20 minutes before answering your call. Shocking customer service. They make it very complicated to remove your own money from your own pension and having read other on line reviews on Standard Life I wish I had gone elsewhere.

Write a review
9th January 2017

Poor service re tax free lump sum

On 14th April 2016 I rang Standard Life’s office to request to take 25% of my pension fund as a tax free lump sum. I was disappointed to learn that before I could do this, I had to discuss my request with one of their advisers and this appointment c...

Read more

On 14th April 2016 I rang Standard Life’s office to request to take 25% of my pension fund as a tax free lump sum. I was disappointed to learn that before I could do this, I had to discuss my request with one of their advisers and this appointment could not be arranged for up to 2 weeks.

In the event, an appointment was made for a telephone consultation on Friday 22nd April. During the course of the consultation that lasted around 1 hour, I was advised that the value of the 25% tax free lump transaction would be £149,889.52 but it might take 8 - 10 days to get the funds because Standard Life might need to verify my bank details.

At this point, I believed that the transaction had been effected and the figure quoted was the amount I could expect to receive.

I was thus disappointed to receive an e mail on 29th April from a Drawdown Administrator at Standard Life asking me to confirm the amount of the tax free lump I wished to take.

During a further exchange of e mails, it became clear that there had been no progress made by Standard Life to process my request and further, that contrary to the impression given at the time of my telephone conversation, the figure quoted was not the amount I could expect to receive. When the adviser mentioned the 8 – 10 days, she intended to state that this was the normal time that Standard Life takes to effect the sale of units from their fund to provide sufficient cash to pay the tax free lump sum.

By this time the value of units in the fund had dropped significantly and the amount I could expect as a tax free sum had fallen by over £2,000. At this point I immediately asked Standard Life not to sell any of my fund until such time as I had chance to consider my option.

I felt very strongly that it was poor practice for Standard Life to take 8 - 10 days to process a simple sale of units in my pension fund and wrote to them to complain about the lengthy period during which they expected me to absorb the risk that the market could move adversely.

At this point Standard Life did advise me that another option was available to transfer some of my funds into a cash fund. This process only took 1 – 2 days (not 8 – 10) and thus was a significant reduction in the risk of market movement but it is not an option that Standard Life make their customers aware of.

Notwithstanding the poor quality of advice I received from Standard Life, when I complained, their Customer Complaints Department concluded that I had been made aware that the value of the investments could fall. I contend that I believed that this statement only referred to the 75% of my fund that I was not taking as a tax free lump sum.

As I was unhappy with Standard Life’s conclusion, I complained to the Financial Ombudsman Service (“FOS”) on 16th May. The FOS initially agreed that the Standard Life advice was misleading and stated that

“I’ve listened to the recording of the call where you made the request to take the tax free cash amount. The adviser tells you what the amount would be based on its value on that day. And she confirms your understanding that the value of your remaining investment can go up as well as down on a daily basis.

But I don’t think the payment process was made clear enough to you. It’s confirmed towards the end of the call that you wanted to withdraw the tax free cash amount, which the adviser explained “is the £149,986.” She didn’t mention on that occasion that this figure was based on that day’s value. She went on to say:

“In terms of the payment, it will normally take eight to ten working days for the money to be in your bank account.”

I think this gives the impression that the payment had been put in motion. It wasn’t explained that it can actually take eight to ten working days before the money is even sent. So you won’t have been aware that during this period, the tax free cash amount would still be invested and exposed to market risk.

You were told that Standard Life might require additional documentation to verify your bank account details. But then later in the call you were told you’d passed the verification check and nothing more was needed from you at that time.

I think it was reasonable for you to come away from this part of the call with the impression you were going to receive £149,986 into your account within eight to ten working days. I don’t think that at any point during the call it’s specifically explained to you that you weren’t guaranteed the value of that day. Or that the amount you’d eventually receive might be lower or higher due to fluctuations in the market as it would stay invested until the verification checks were completed.”

In spite of the fairly damning conclusions about the quality of the Standard Life service reached by the FOS in red above, they went on to state that

“But this doesn’t mean I think you should receive the amount as it was valued on the day of his request. That’s because it’s the role of our service to put you back in the position you would’ve been in if no mistake had been made. And in my opinion, if you’d been given a better explanation of the payment process, you’d be in a similar position to the one you’re in now.”

I subsequently went back to the FOS to explain that Standard Life can offer a service that limits the length of market risk exposure to 1 – 2 days but chose not to me make me aware of this but still the FOS remain adamant that I suffered no loss as a result of the poor advice.

A subsequent review by a second person at the FOS reached a similar conclusion albeit for different reasons.

I still feel that the service I received from Standard Life was very poor and I suspect that very few of their customers are aware of the market risk that they are expected to accept because Standard Life cannot process simple transactions within reasonable timescales.

Write a review
6th September 2016

Not very helpful online

When I changed employer, I inquired online about how I can continue to make my own contributions into the fund. I did not find the responses to be very helpful. They said they would write to me with my options, but I just received a letter stating...

Read more

When I changed employer, I inquired online about how I can continue to make my own contributions into the fund. I did not find the responses to be very helpful. They said they would write to me with my options, but I just received a letter stating that my contributions had stopped.

Write a review
22nd June 2016

Pension plans

This is my first pension and although it was set up via my employer, my experience with Standard Life has been a positive one. ...

Read more

This is my first pension and although it was set up via my employer, my experience with Standard Life has been a positive one.
Any questions I have had have been dealt with efficiently and their website is very easy to use, which allows me to top up my pension or use their calculators to work out how much I need to be saving.

Write a review
23rd October 2015

On-off experience

Have my life insurance with with Standard Life. It's not something I think about much, but I recently needed to make a few changes due to new family and the experience was a tad confusing. Standard Life were pleasant throughout, but would have thought...

Read more

Have my life insurance with with Standard Life. It's not something I think about much, but I recently needed to make a few changes due to new family and the experience was a tad confusing. Standard Life were pleasant throughout, but would have thought the process would've been a bit easier.

Write a review
10th August 2015

Using Website to Consolidate Pensions

I had several different dormant workplace pensions, and after monitoring performance over the few years - decided to consolidate to the best...

Read more

I had several different dormant workplace pensions, and after monitoring performance over the few years - decided to consolidate to the best performing.
I used Standard Life's website to process the transfer from an old provider to my Standard Life pension.
The website was very simple to use, and every step was very well explained. It stated, in clear language, exactly what information was needed, where to find it, and why it was important.
Very well explained, easy to follow, process throughout