Nichols joined Standard Life Group in 1991 and became an actuary, performing a variety of roles before taking up the post of investment director at Standard Life Investments in 2004. He joined the multi-asset investing team to help design strategic solutions for institutional clients. Key among these is the Global Absolute Return Strategies (GARS) Fund that now accounts for more than $64 billion in assets under management globally. He returned to the Edinburgh headquarters in 2011 after an 18-month stint at the company’s Boston office in the US, where he supported the commercial development of the nascent North American business. Following a merger, Nichols now leads an 11-member team of multi-asset investment specialists in support of commercialisation and the evolution of a growing global multi-asset business. The mission is to ensure clients and consultants worldwide have clarity on the investment philosophy, process and positioning of the multi-asset portfolios. By understanding the outcomes clients want, the team aims to design and implement innovative new capabilities. Current challenges include addressing the needs created by pension freedoms in the UK and, more broadly, defined contribution de-cumulation in a low-rates environment.