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Standard Life Aberdeen deepens access to China

China_bicyclesMore good news for Standard Life Aberdeen this week. After a tribunal supported the company’s bid to keep a mandate it holds with Scottish Widows, an unrelated move sees the asset manager gain entry to China’s pensions insurance market through a joint venture.

Standard Life Aberdeen and its partner Tianjin TEDA International have gained permission for their jointly run Heng An Standard Life (HASL) business to operate in the country’s pensions insurance market and it is the first foreign-backed JV to be allowed access to this sector.

The Scottish asset manager said China has long been identified as a strategic market for the company and approval for HASL reflects the “strength of the proposition and the relationships the company has built in the region”.

HASL was formed in 2003 and offers health, life and savings products to the Chinese.

China has an ageing demographic. Over 250 million people are expected to be over 60 by 2020. Standard Life Aberdeen said that, as a result, China’s long-term savings system is expected to shift from a predominantly state model to a focus on occupational and individual savings.

Keith Skeoch, chief executive of Standard Life Aberdeen, said: “As the pensions market in China looks set to go through fundamental reform to meet the challenges of an ageing population, Heng An Standard Life is exceptionally well positioned to support pension savers in this important market.”

Sir Gerry Grimstone is chairman of the joint venture and recently became chairman of a Standard Life Aberdeen JV in the Gulf.

This week a tribunal found that Lloyds Banking Group was wrong to give notice to Standard Life Aberdeen on a mandate that the asset manager runs for Lloyds’ subsidiary insurer, Scottish Widows, on competition grounds.

Recently, Martin Gilbert stood down as co-CEO of Standard Life Aberdeen leaving Skeoch in charge.

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