John Hylands graduated in mathematics from the University of Glasgow. After five years as a mathematics teacher he joined Standard Life in 1979 and qualified as an actuary in 1982. His career at Standard Life spanned 28 years and included various finance, marketing and management positions including serving as Finance Director from 2001 to 2005. He is a Non-Executive Director of Alliance Trust and of Ecclesiastical Insurance Group. He chairs the trustees of the Standard Life and BOC pension schemes. He has also served as Vice President of the Faculty of Actuaries and Chairman of the Management Board of the UK Actuarial Profession.