Standard Life is one of the UK’s largest financial services organisations, providing life assurance and pensions, investment management and healthcare insurance services.

At the end of last May, its members voted to demutualise and agreed that the group undertake a £5 billion flotation on the London Stock Exchange, which led to a major programme of work for the IT department. This included confirming and validating customer details to ensure they were accurate, establishing each customer’s entitlement under the demutualisation scheme and implementing major changes to accounting systems.

Standard Life also needed to continue a full programme of work for its life and pensions, investment, banking and healthcare divisions. This included developing a platform to run wrap accounts, extending ecommerce facilities and preparing for A-Day on April 2006, when the government’s simplified pension system came into force. Another key focus for the IT department is to manage costs. The organisation benchmarks its services to identify opportunities for improvement and for the last four years has run a UK-based efficiency programme, which has included consolidating suppliers and negotiating competitive deals.

The aim over the year ahead, however, is to extend the scheme to cover subsidiaries in Canada, Ireland, Germany, Hong Kong, India and China, which have in the past operated independently. The move will include signing enterprise-wide global agreements.