Standard Life (also known as Standard Life Aberdeen PLC) is one of the largest investment companies in the UK, with over £550 billion in assets under management. As a public company listed on the LSE and a key constituent of the UK’s FTSE 100 Index, Standard Life is one of the most well-known financial companies in the UK. So, do you want to buy Standard Life shares?
In this guide, we take you through everything you need to know before you buy Standard Life shares. Not only do we review the best brokers and take a look at whether Standard Life may be a good investment, but we also provide a step-by-step walkthrough on how you can buy Standard Life shares right now.
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How to Buy Standard Life Shares in 3 Simple Steps
No time to read this guide? Don’t worry! Simply follow these 3 simple steps to buy Standard Life shares today.
Step 1: Choose a Share Broker
To buy Standard Life shares, you need a trusted broker that offers shares listed on the LSE, such as eToro.
Step 2: Fund Your Account
Fund your broker account using one of the accepted options, such as a bank card, bank transfer, or e-wallet.
Step 3: Buy Standard Life Shares
Search for Standard Life shares, decide how much you want to invest, set any other parameters and confirm the order.
75% of retail investors lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.
Where To Buy Standard Life Shares
When it comes to buying Standard Life Shares, there are many different stock brokers to choose from, all with different fees, tools and payment methods. Therefore, finding the best broker for you can sometimes be a little tricky.
To help you out, we’ve reviewed the best brokers that offer Standard Life shares to UK customers. Check them out below.
1. eToro - Buy Over 800 Global Shares With No Commission
eToro is a leading global broker that counts over 12 million users around the world. This platform made its name as a pioneering social trading platform, which allows you to interact with other users like you would on a social media network.
In terms of shares, eToro offers over 800 companies. Unlike most platforms, it allows you to both buy shares and trade CFDs, so you can go short and trade share CFDs with up to 1:20 leverage. There’s no commission to pay, spreads are super competitive and withdrawals cost just $5.
One of the standout features of eToro is its CopyTrader tool. This allows you to copy the entire portfolio and future trades of any of eToro’s users! By doing this, you can copy top investors and buy stocks passively.
You can get started on eToro with a $200 deposit, and there’s a range of payment methods to choose from, including PayPal, Neteller and Skrill. eToro is licensed by the FCA, in addition to a number of other leading bodies, so it’s an extremely secure platform.
- Commission Free: Don’t pay a fee when you trade shares
- Global Shares: Buy and trade more than 800 companies
- Social Trading: Copy professional traders’ portfolios
- Strcitly Regulated: FCA License
- Non-trading Fees: Charges inactivity fees
2. Plus500 - Low Cost CFD Broker with Standard Life Shares
Plus500 is a UK-based broker that specializes in CFD trading, so while you can’t buy Standard Life shares in the traditional sense on this platform, you can trade share CFDs with leverage. Plus500 offers over 2,000 financial instruments in total, including a good number of shares, all as CFDs.
One of the reasons this broker is so popular is due to its extremely low fees. There’s no commission to pay on share trading, and Plus500’s spreads are among the tightest in the space. You don’t have to pay any fees on deposits or withdrawals, either.
Like eToro, Plus500 offers its own proprietary trading platform, which is available both on desktop and as one of the best trading apps. This broker requires a fairly low minimum deposit of £100 and accepts a range of payment methods, including PayPal. Thanks to its FCA licece, you can trade shares CFDs with confidence on Plus500.
- Low Cost: No commission and tight spreads
- Price Alerts: Find out about a pullback in real time
- Leverage: Trade share CFDs at up to 1:20
- No Backtests: Doesn’t offer advanced tools for active trading
Why Buy Standard Life Shares?
Standard Life is one of the oldest and most well-respected investment companies in the UK, with a web of associates and joint-ventures in the insurance sector across the UK, India and China. Since its merger with Aberdeen, Standard Life’s position in the UK market has been reinforced. Despite recent concerns over its performance, Standard Life is in a healthy financial position and has a bright future.
Deciding which shares or stocks to buy can be a difficult decision that must be supported by personal research. However, to assist you in your research, we highlight below the main reasons that make Standard Life shares an attractive buy.
1. A leader in Asset Management in the UK
Aberdeen Standard, the asset management arm of Standard Life, is the third largest UK asset manager in terms of assets under management. With over £550bn in assets generating a stream of fee income, Standard Life’s asset management business is steady and profitable.
Despite the loss of the Scottish Widows contract, fund inflows remain strong. In addition, Standard Life owns 20% of Phoenix, another large UK asset manager, and 27% of HDFC Asset Management, one of the leading asset managers in India. As one of the world’s fastest growing markets, India should offer Standard Life a strong growth in revenues in the future via this investment.
Standard Life’s web of investments in insurance companies, including in India and in China, also offer a pipeline of clients that could potentially be upsold to asset management services in Standard Life’s own or jointly-owned businesses.
2. Strong financial position
The coronavirus crisis has sparked many bankruptcies and forced many companies to cut costs and engage in mass layoffs to slow their cash burn. Meanwhile, Standard Life’s healthy cash flows from operations, large cash balance and comfortable net cash (cash on hand higher than debt) position put it in a comfortable place to ride out the crisis.
Financial companies, be they banks or investment companies, can be quite vulnerable in a downturn. Nonetheless, Standard Life’s 200-year history in the business and its strong balance sheet make it more likely than most to emerge relatively unscathed from the difficult times ahead.
3. Excellent track record of returning money to shareholders
Standard Life’s profitable business has led it to distribute healthy dividends to shareholders while engaging in share buybacks. Over the past 5 years, the average dividend yield on Standard Life shares was 6.3%, an extremely attractive proposition in today’s low interest environments.
Standard Life has also frequently carried out share buybacks, adding to the attractiveness of the shares. In fact, between 2018 and 2019, Standard Life returned almost £2 billion to shareholders via a mix of buybacks & dividends.
While maintaining such a high dividend and frequent buybacks may be more difficult (financially and politically) in the short-run, the company’s track record gives comfort to shareholders of its commitment to rewarding investors.
About Standard Life Shares
Company History & Business Model
Founded in 1825, Standard Life is one of the UK’s oldest and most famous investment companies, with over £550 billion in assets under management.
Standard Life Aberdeen (formerly known simply as “Standard Life”) is the product of the merger between Standard Life PLC and Aberdeen Asset Management in 2017. The new company is headquartered in Scotland, listed on the London Stock Exchange, and employs around 6,000 people worldwide.
It operates primarily in two segments: Asset Management & Platforms and Insurance (via associates & joint-ventures).
The Asset Management & Platforms segment offers active asset management for institutional and retail clients, as well as advisory and platform services for investment advisors in the UK. Standard Life primarily derives its revenues from fees on assets under management and platform fees (for investment advisors).
Most of the revenues of the Asset Management division come from management fees (a flat percentage of assets managed charged every year), with a small sliver derived from performance fees (when the investment gains of the clients exceed a certain threshold). In addition, Standard Life derives revenues from fees on the use of its fund platforms, where investment advisors can manage their client’s portfolios. With over £1.6 billion in fee-based revenues in 2019, the Asset Management & Platforms division drives the bulk of Standard Life’s top- and bottom-lines.
Standard Life’s second division, Insurance Associates & Joint Ventures, consists primarily of significant equity stakes or JVs with insurance companies in India (HDFC Life), the UK (Phoenix) and China (HASL). These businesses offer pension, insurance and savings products to customers in these key markets. In 2019, with approximately £190 million in profits before tax, these associates and joint-ventures contributed to a third of Standard Life’s profits before tax.
Standard Life Share Price and Performance
Standard Life Aberdeen is listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) under the SLA.L ticker.
Since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, Standard Life shares have lost over 20%, hit by concerns over the company’s near-term outlook. Indeed, Standard Life has suffered from higher-than-usual outflows of assets under management, lowering its management fees earning potential.
Nonetheless, the main outflow for the year 2019 (£25 billion) concerned the loss of a large client, the Scottish Widows fund, which had been expected since 2018. Despite the drop in revenues, Standard Life showed steady cash flows from operations and operated with a very large cash balance in its coffers, giving it breathing room in the difficult economic environment. Further, Standard Life’s web of holdings in associates offers it the opportunity to liquidate valuable assets easily should it face an unlikely cash strain.
While the company may suspend its dividend for the rest of 2020, it has a strong track record of returning money to shareholders via buybacks and dividends, returning almost £2 billion to shareholders between 2018 and 2019.
At the time of writing, the analyst consensus was overwhelmingly “Buy”, with the next 12 months price targets between 260p and 518p (average of 380p).
How To Buy Standard Life Shares Using eToro
Now we’ve given you some background on Standard Life Shares, you may want to invest for yourself. To help you out, we’re going to walk you through the process using our recommended UK share broker, eToro.
If you choose to buy Standard Life shares on another platform, the process remains largely similar.
Step 1: Search for Standard Life (SLA.L) shares
Using the search function on the eToro search platform, look for “Standard Life” or its ticker “SLA.L”. You may find not only the company but also trader profiles in the search results: the ability to browse other traders is a key dimension of eToro’s social trading system.
Step 2: Select “Trade” to get started
Using your own money directly or via eToro’s free demo account for free paper trading, choose “Trade” to open the trading window. There, you will find the trading options including amount traded, buy or sell, leverage and special order types.
Step 3: Choose how much to invest and the options you want
One you’re in the trading window, your first decision is whether to buy or sell Standard Life shares, and how much. You can specify either a set number of shares (or fractions of shares), or a specific dollar amount.
Then, choose your order type. Default orders are at market, but you can specify limits and special order types like stop-loss or take-profit, useful to limit your downside or cash in without being behind your screen.
If you buy Standard Life shares without leverage, your trade will be executed directly (i.e. you will own the underlying shares). If however you short-sell Standard Life shares or use leverage for your trade, then your order will be executed as a CFD trade.
Take a minute before closing your trade to review the exposure (in dollar amount and percentage of your equity) of the trade. Make sure to also consider the fees (shown at the bottom) for a CFD trade. Once you have reviewed the risk and are comfortable with your decision, you are ready to buy Standard Life shares!
Simply click “Open Trade” to get started!
Should I Buy Standard Life Shares?
Standard Life is one of the largest and most reputable investment companies in the UK, with steady cash flows from its Asset Management business and a strong financial position. Consequently, it is no surprise that many investors would find Standard Life shares attractive to buy.
If you do want to buy Standard Life Shares, we recommend checking out our recommended broker, eToro. With no commission, copy trading tools and a fantastic user-friendly platform, eToro is our favourite place to buy shares in the UK. Simply click the link below to get started today!
eToro: Buy Shares with 0% Commission
- Buy over 800 global shares
- No commission and tight spreads
- Social and copy trading tools
- Accepts PayPal
- FCA regulated
Where is Standard Life Aberdeen listed?
Standard Life Aberdeen is based in Scotland and listed on the London Stock Exchange.
What's the difference between Standard Life and Standard Life Aberdeen?
In short, they're the same. In 2017, Standard Life PLC merged with Aberdeen Asset Management to form Standard Life Aberdeen, a leader in Asset Management in the UK.
What business is Standard Life in?
Standard Life primarily derives its revenues from fees on the £550+ billion it manages. It also offers platforms to allow investment advisors to manage their clients' money, and receives income from its investments in associates and joint-ventures in the insurance & asset management business.
Beyond your guide, what should I look for before buying Standard Life shares?
We highly recommend you to read the company's annual reports, review its press commentary and listen to what analysts have to say to form your opinion. Make sure you understand the business and the risks before buying Standard Life shares!
Can I buy fractional shares of Standard Life?
Many of the brokers reviewed in this article allow you to buy or short fractional shares of Standard Life, mainly via CFDs.
Does Standard Life pay a dividend?
Historically, Standard Life has maintained a dividend yield above 6%, a remarkable feat. Currently, the coronavirus crisis casts doubt that it will maintain its dividend and share buybacks in 2021 as these practices can be politically sensitive in a downturn.