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Standard Life’s John Lawson to join Aviva

Standard Life head of pensions policy John Lawson is leaving the provider after over 10 years to join rival Aviva.

Lawson (pictured) will join Aviva in January 2013 as head of corporate benefits policy. He will report to managing director of corporate benefits Graham Boffey.

Boffey says: “As head of policy, John will use his industry expertise and insight to further shape our end-to-end corporate business and to ensure we get it right for our customers.”

A Standard Life spokeswoman says the provider has not yet decided whether Lawson will be replaced.

Lawson has headed up pensions policy at Standard since June 2001. He was previously associate director of sales, strategy and development at Bank of Scotland.

Syndaxi Chartered Financial Planners managing director Robert Reid says: “From Aviva’s perspective this is a strong move because John is an exceptionally knowledgeable individual with good links to the adviser community.

“In my view this also shows that Standard Life’s priorities do not lie in the intermediary sector, so this could be the thin end of the wedge as they look to develop their direct brand.”

Informed Choice managing director Martin Bamford says: “John is one of the leading experts in his field so this is definitely a loss for Standard Life and a big win for Aviva. I think Standard will need to find a new figurehead on the pensions side soon in order to retain adviser confidence in their proposition.”


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There are 6 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Aviva’s administration is the worst I have come across this year, and that is really saying something. I had similar problems with John Lawson some years ago regarding a problem over my own pension where he could not quote the right sections of my pension contract despite 2 attempts. On his first attempt I actually pointed out the section by name and number and he still continued to get it wrong.
    I assume that Aviva’s administration will now reach even newer lows.

  2. Steve Bee / Mike Morrison he aint.

    This is a good move for Standard Life.

    It is my understanding that the insistent meddling of John Lawson is what has prompted the HMRC to effectively kill off SSAS loan backs to the principle employer and SSAS scheme pensions (not to mention residential property into pensions pre A-day).

    At a time when small business owners desperately need finance to help the economy out recession, this man has more than anyone outside government to kill off the economic recovery and destroy the idea of pensions being a “good thing” amongst the very people that are needed to make workplace pensions work.

    This man has done so much damage, and he thinks he’s done a good job!

    For those in the know, he is a deeply unpopular.

  3. Annonymous at 12:45

    You claim that Mr Lawson’s “meddling” killed off loanbacks etc.

    On what basis do you make this claim?

    My understanding is that HMRC had a look at the number of Loanbacks that had been written off and, rightly, tightened up the rules.

    Residential property was never a great idea and, in my opinion, will never happen.

    Think of the loss to the treasury of income tax / CGT / IHT not to mention the impact on an already overvalued property market.

  4. I have no doubt the two anons above are stating honestly held opinions, albeit which some may find uncharitable. I am not challenging them but I have to say I have always regarded John Lawson as a significant figure in the pensions industry and while not always agreeing with his views I have found them interesting and at times provocative-that I think is beneficial as it can spark useful debates.Good luck at Aviva.

    As for the comment from SL that they have not yet decided whether to replace him- so Standard Life may not have a policy on pensions? At this moment I believe they still do not offer Flexible Drawdown-perhaps a speedy replacement for John Lawson with a brief to resolve this issue as a matter of priority would be a step forward.

  5. RegulatorSaurusRex 11th October 2012 at 5:10 pm

    Like a polar bear jumping from melting iceberg to melting iceberg.

  6. never met him, do not know him to criticise him on misinformed data.

    bit of a bore draw really.

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