Scottish Widows

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Scottish Widows plc
Industry Financial Services
Founded 1815
Headquarters Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
Key people
Lord Blackwell, Chairman
Toby Strauss, Group Director Insurance
Products Life insurance
Number of employees
3,500 (2011)[1]
Parent Lloyds Banking Group

Scottish Widows plc is a life, pensions and investment company located in Edinburgh, Scotland, and is a subsidiary of Lloyds Banking Group. Its product range includes life assurance, pensions, investments and savings. The company has been providing financial services to the UK market since 1815 and is the most trusted life, pensions and investment provider in the UK according to a 2010 Ipsos study.[2] The company sells products through independent financial advisers, direct to customers and through Lloyds Banking Group bank branches.


Scottish Widows Headquarters, Morrison Street, Edinburgh

In March 1812, a number of prominent Scotsmen gathered in the Royal Exchange Coffee Rooms in Edinburgh. They were there to discuss setting up ‘a general fund for securing provisions to widows, sisters and other female relatives’ of fundholders so that they would not be plunged into poverty on the death of the fundholder during and after the Napoleonic Wars. Scottish Widows Fund and Life Assurance Society opened in 1815 as Scotland's first mutual life office.

In 1999, Lloyds TSB agreed to buy the society for £7 billion.[3] The society demutualised on 3 March 2000 as part of the acquisition.[4] At the time of its takeover, Scottish Widows set up an "additional account" to hold £1.7 billion of the proceeds from the sale. This fund was to be used to enhance terminal bonuses across the company, but was eventually used to compensate guaranteed annuity rate options (GARs) holders.

In April 2009, Lloyds Banking Group announced that the sales team of Clerical Medical would be merged into that of Scottish Widows, and the Clerical Medical brand would eventually be phased out.[5]

In November 2013, Lloyds Banking Group sold its asset management division, Scottish Widows Investment Partnership (SWIP) to Aberdeen Asset Management in a £660m deal.[6]


File:Scottish widows advert.jpg
Scottish widows advert from 1878

The Scottish Widow first appeared in a television advert directed by David Bailey in 1986. Since then, Scottish Widows has made 10 adverts featuring the Scottish Widow.[7] Scottish Widows was also the first company to launch a national television campaign celebrating the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Three models have portrayed the Scottish Widow, a hooded character featured in the company's advertising. The original Widow, chosen to portray the company’s brand values in the ‘Looking Good’ commercial in 1986, was Deborah Moore, daughter of actor Roger Moore. In 1994, Amanda Lamb took over the role. Hayley Hunt became the third Scottish Widow in 2005. In 2014, the company announced that the fourth Scottish Widow would be Amber Martinez.[8]


Scottish Widows was the Official Pensions and Investment Provider of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.[9] The company employs athletes Roger Black MBE and Sarah Storey OBE as their Olympic Ambassadors.[10]

In popular culture

The establishment of the fund, and its trailblazing work in statistics and actuarial science, is discussed in Yuval Harari's 2011 book Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind.[11]


  1. Scottish Widows staff (
  2. IPSOS brand tracking study 2010
  3. "Lloyds TSB buys Scottish Widows". BBC News. 23 June 1999. Retrieved 22 September 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Q&A: Standard Life demutualisation". BBC News. 31 March 2004. Retrieved 22 September 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Jonathan Russell (29 April 2009). "Lloyds cuts 305 jobs and drops Clerical". Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 17 March 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Lloyds sells Scottish Widows Investment in £660m deal". BBC News. 18 November 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Scottish Widows adverts (
  8. Quinn, James (24 August 2013). "Modern setting as the Scottish Widow returns". The Telegraph. London. Retrieved 22 September 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Scottish Widows London 2012 site ( 2012)
  10. Scottish Widows Ambassadors(

External links

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