Standard Life Investments is not for everyone, and that is just fine with William H. Perry.
“This is an extremely tightknit group and you have to give something of yourself to get something back,” said Mr. Perry, who has been CEO for 12 years. “You have to be friends with the people you work with here. ... We filter candidates (carefully) to hire people who are truly team players.”
Mr. Perry talks openly about being treated for metastasized thyroid cancer; he said it is that kind of sharing that helps people relate to each other as more than simply colleagues.
“We all have crosses to bear, and we respect that about each other,“ Mr. Perry said, adding people from all ranks within the company stop in frequently to ask how he's doing.
As the company's eighth employee in the U.S., Mr. Perry said the culture is something he is proud to have maintained as it grew to 80 U.S. employees. He said he plans to continue that culture as the firm grows to what he hopes will be 120 in the next three years.
John T. “Jack” Boyce, who joined SLI USA in 2008 as managing director and head of U.S. distribution, said the culture in the U.S. stems from the culture of the Edinburgh-based parent company. There, CEO Keith Skeoch welcomes opinions from any staffer in any office in the world, Mr. Boyce said. “It goes to the collegial and highly supportive nature,” Mr. Boyce said.
Standard Life USA employees responding to the Best Places to Work in Money Management survey said they valued the focus on people, collaboration and spirit.
“The culture of the company is a very positive one, where communication and teamwork are highly prized,” one wrote.
Eric Roberts, U.S. head of institutional sales, elaborated as to why SLI might not be for everyone.
“Everyone is all-in on intellectual fearlessness,” Mr. Roberts said. “There is not a lot of ego, but there is a lot of expectation that intellect will be brought to the table.”
Employees also socialize with each other, including catered events that sometimes take place at colleagues' homes, a summer family barbeque for everyone and the imported Scottish tradition of a Burns supper — complete with haggis.
And leaders take pride in both the career development they offer to their staff, and the community work they do to try to help students prepare for careers.
Employees volunteer for Let's Get Ready, a charity that helps high school students with the college admissions process, works with them during college and helps them find jobs when they graduate.
“Life is made up of a lot of small breaks and our objective is to help people catch those small breaks early on ...” Mr. Boyce said. “It fits into the long-thinking style of SLI.”