The Standard Life Assurance Company of Canada Tuesday announced three changes to its group and retail offering in order to continue sharpening its strategic focus on the long-term savings and investment market.

Effective Jan. 1, 2012, Standard Life will stop selling its individual life insurance and critical illness products but will continue to service its in-force block of life insurance business.

As part of Standard Life’s group offering, employers can now add socially responsible investment (SRI) funds to investment options for any Standard Life group savings and retirement plan.

In addition, the firm’s retail customers now have access to new simplified Ideal Term Funds.

“Today’s announcement is another step in Standard Life’s strategy to focus on the activities which have the best potential for sustainable growth,” says Joseph Iannicelli, president and CEO.

“This change will help us speed up the growth of the three business segments where we’re most competitive, and to respond to customer needs with products such as our new Ideal Term Funds and SRI funds.”

Standard Life will continue to include life insurance coverage in its group benefits offering. It will no longer sell individual universal life insurance, term insurance, whole life insurance and critical illness insurance.

At the end of 2010, the individual life insurance business of The Standard Life Assurance Company of Canada consisted of 202,000 policies; it represented 3.5% of the company’s total premiums and deposits of $5 billion, and 1.4% of its total new business.

More options for group plan members

Standard Life is now offering four individual Meritas SRI Funds for group savings and retirement plans. Employers and their advisors can include these investment options immediately as part of a customized plan or, starting at the end of 2011, through the new Monitored Avenue Portfolio Program – Socially Responsible Investment options (MAPP-SRI options). Standard Life chose funds for the MAPP-SRI options to provide long-term returns that aim to meet the needs of socially responsible investors and proper diversification amongst asset classes.

As a result of the combination of Standard Life’s MAPP and SRI funds, it will be the first time that group plan members can choose socially responsible investments tailored to their own unique risk profile and time to retirement. The portfolios are subject to an automatic lifecycle and portfolio rebalancing and to the investment program’s governance process.

Simplified Ideal Term Funds

To address the low-interest rate environment, Standard Life is introducing new savings and retirement income Ideal Term Funds which are secure and deliver predictable income.

Standard Life says the new products are simplified, easy to understand and redeemable prior to maturity. They are designed to appeal to investors who are looking for an alternative to banks’ guaranteed investment certificates and Canada Savings Bonds.

Details on the Ideal Term Funds are available at