Update on Standard Life’s Strategic Review:

Canadian Operations will continue to be part of the Standard Life Group

MONTREAL, March 31, 2004 – The Standard Life Group, based in Edinburgh, Scotland, announced today that Standard Life’s Canadian Operations, the largest of the Group’s overseas businesses, will be retained within the Group and further developed.

The Strategic Review, which began in January 2004, has revisited plans for each of the Group’s business units. The scope of the review has involved careful examination of the structure of the Group. The Group has a well-diversified portfolio of businesses to which the Canadian Operations significantly contributes. The Group benefits from the Canadian Operations’ profitability and the fact that it is capital self-sufficient.

Mr. Claude Garcia, President of the Canadian Operations of Standard Life indicated that, “Standard Life’s Canadian Operations will pursue its business plan that has allowed our sales to increase 19% year to date over last year. We will continue to develop and deliver outstanding products to meet the long-term financial needs of our customers.”

The Board has also announced that it is fully committed to take the steps necessary to assess the detailed requirements for demutualization. Demutualization, in principle, is the best option for maximising the value of the Company, and delivering performance, reducing risk and crystallising value for members. A detailed plan for demutualization will be developed and is expected to be brought forward for members to consider at the 2006 Annual General Meeting.

In Canada, The Standard Life Assurance Company and its affiliated companies have $33.1 billion in assets under management. The Company offers a wide range of financial products, including group savings and retirement, group insurance, individual life insurance, savings and retirement, and mutual funds. We also provide portfolio management and real estate and mortgage investment services. Total premium income and deposits reached $3.9 billion in 2003 with over 1.1 million clients. ( www.standardlife.ca )

The Standard Life Assurance Company, founded in Edinburgh (Scotland) in 1825, is a mutual Company. However, the Company’s status is under review and demutualization is a possible outcome. The Company has $206.3 billion in assets under management and over 5 million customers around the world. ( www.standardlife.com )