Standard Life CEO warns Canadians must overcome their paralysis and take
greater responsibility for their financial affairs

Joseph Iannicelli also calls for further involvement of industry, government, and employers in securing Canadians' financial future

TORONTO, May 17 /CNW Telbec/ - The recession and financial crisis have had limited impact on consumers' awareness of financial issues and risk, according to Joseph Iannicelli, President and CEO of The Standard Life Assurance Company of Canada. Speaking at the Canadian Club of Toronto today, Mr. Iannicelli urged Canadians to take a greater personal responsibility for their financial affairs if they want to avoid taking on greater debt and facing insufficient income to meet their retirement needs.

The financial crisis has made it clear that Canadians need to invest more time learning about budgeting and saving and financial affairs in general. "Almost half of young Canadians postpone credit card debt, and household debt has exploded. Canadians' expectations of a retirement income are completely out of line with what they are earning and saving today," warned Mr. Iannicelli. "Many Canadians will go into retirement with a mortgage still owing on their homes."

Mr. Iannicelli also urged other stakeholders including the financial services industry and government to increase their involvement in promoting financial literacy in Canada and in securing the financial future of Canadians. In his speech he emphasized the importance of stakeholders' need to focus on helping Canadians overcome their paralysis and take greater responsibility when it comes to their financial affairs.

"The financial services industry must continue to be a pivotal player in interacting with and educating the consumer. We can simplify our product offerings, be more creative in building group plans for small and medium-sized businesses, and provide better, more user-friendly tools for researching and choosing products and services," he concluded. "Individuals, employers, governments and the financial services industry all need to act together to help reduce Canadians' financial literacy deficit."

About Standard Life

Standard Life is a leading long-term savings and investments group headquartered in Scotland and operating internationally. Established in 1825, Standard Life provides retirement, investment and insurance solutions to over 6 million customers worldwide. The group has around 10,000 employees across the U.K., Canada, Ireland, Germany, Austria, India, the U.S., Hong Kong and mainland China. It had C$279 billion in assets under administration, as of March 31, 2010.

In 2006, after 80 years as a mutual company, Standard Life Assurance Company demutualized and Standard Life plc was listed on the London Stock Exchange. Standard Life now has approximately 1.5 million shareholders in over 50 countries, including 13,000 in Canada.

In Canada, Standard Life has been doing business for over 175 years. Standard Life Financial Inc., which wholly owns The Standard Life Assurance Company of Canada and Standard Life Mutual Funds Ltd., is Standard Life plc's largest operation outside the U.K. With over 2,000 employees based in Montréal and in offices across Canada, it serves more than 1.3 million Canadians, including group insurance and retirement plan members. It had C$37 billion of assets under administration, as at March 31, 2010.

Note to editors: For a full transcript of Mr. Iannicelli's speech at the Canadian Club of Toronto, please view this document.

SOURCE Standard Life

For further information: For further information: Ann-Marie Gagné, Manager, External Communications and Public Affairs, 1-877-499-9555 (ext. 4600), (514) 499-7999 (ext. 4600), ann-marie.gagne@standardlife.ca

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