EDINBURGH-based insurance and pensions group Standard Life are to axe nearly 500 jobs.
Over the next 15 months the company will phase out up to 600 existing jobs and create around 100 new jobs across the business.
The changes follow on from the structural changes which the company announced in June this year aimed at increasing organisational capability, flexibility and capacity.
Of the roles being phased out, around 100 are currently held by contractors and 24 are existing vacancies that will not be filled.
David Nish, Chief Executive, said: “As we transform Standard Life to deliver its growth ambitions, there is a need to both invest for future growth and actively manage our costs to be competitive.
“The decision announced today is part of the journey towards being a more adaptable and flexible organisation. Our people will be provided with the support they need while the Group goes through this necessary change.”
Standard Life have said that they will do everything that they can to redeploy the remaining employees back in to the business and every effort will be made to keep compulsory redundancies to a minimum.
He said: “This is a very disappointing announcement from Standard Life, and it will be an anxious time for staff and their families. Those affected can be assured that the Scottish Government will do everything we possibly can to help, and we have already been in contact with the company.
“We recognise that the company plans to create 100 new IT posts in Edinburgh and we will want to ensure that Edinburgh and Scotland benefits from these opportunities in full.”
Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland Jim Murphy said: “This is a real blow to people in Edinburgh who have worked hard for a great Edinburgh institution.
“It will be a really worrying time for the families and friends of those who have lost their jobs.
“We urgently need to see more action to get Edinburgh’s financial services industry back on a steady footing.
“It is hugely important for the local economy and to help Scotland through the worst economic times in living memory.”
Liberal Democrat finance spokesman Jeremy Purvis said: “This is a blow to what was hoped could have been a strong recovery for the Scottish financial services sector.
“It is imperative that the Financial Sector Jobs Taskforce, that we fought hard to get established, is convened to ensure all of the support available can be offered to the affected staff.”
Derek Brownlee MSP, Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Finance & Sustainable Growth, said: “This news will come as a blow to the staff at Standard Life and their families, although we must continue to support the vital financial services sector in Edinburgh and across Scotland.
“It demonstrates why we have to secure a sustained recovery and create new jobs. Both our governments must work together to achieve these aims.”
Dr Ian McKee, SNP MSP for Lothians, who represents Edinburgh and its financial district, said: “It is always disappointing to hear of jobs being lost to the Lothians. I will be contacting Standard Life regarding the options available to those workers who may be facing redundancy.
“Locally Edinburgh council has been working hard at attracting new jobs and investment to Edinburgh and I am convinced that Edinburgh’s financial sector can and will continue to succeed with new investors and new business.”