But on one corner, a familiar name survives. Behind the modern Scottish Life logo, a 600-strong workforce is tackling the latest pensions revolution with a business model that has been in the vanguard of the industry clean-up.
They are led by Ewan Smith, actuary by trade, who stepped up to managing director last summer, and who in 27 years man and boy at Scottish Life is used to manning the barricades.
When the first pensions scandal erupted 20 years ago, sky-high upfront commissions were exposed as wiping out savings, and the Tory Government brought in low-charge stakeholder pensions. For Scottish Life, Mr Smith recalls, that meant "a fundamental re-engineering of its product range, and an understanding of how a small company was going to survive in a more capital-intensive world".
It led to the takeover in 2001 by Essex-based Royal London. But 12 years on a new revolution is unfolding, as automatic enrolment into pensions brings fresh challenges for the industry, and Scottish Life's new chief admits it is still about "how a small business can compete against bigger businesses – banks and large insurance companies".
Its mutually-owned parent employs 1200 in Scotland but is no giant. "The pensions market was a lot tougher than Royal London probably expected," Mr Smith says. "Making a profit in the pensions area has been a real challenge. However, they took a medium-term perspective, encouraged us to reshape and reorganise, and brought in some real fresh thinking, in particular in customer service, that has been the cornerstone of taking the company from where it was in 1999 to where it is today."
Scottish Life is recognised as a five-star service provider, a direct result of its strategy of developing relationships with financial advisers by weaning them off commissions.
"For the last few years we have run with a financial adviser fee, which instead of commission became a negotiation around adviser services," Mr Smith says. But across most of the industry until now, "whatever product you had, the adviser had to recommend a switch in order to get paid".
There is also the trick of "active member discount" – where pension charges are quietly hiked for anyone who has stopped paying into a scheme. "We have never got involved in that," Mr Smith says. "But for someone perhaps losing their job, the last thing on their mind is sorting out the pension. Under auto-enrolment, active member discount is not allowed."
Scottish Life also wants to see proper regulation of advisers in the group pensions market, where charges to employers are at present unregulated, particularly as employees will end up footing the cost through deductions from their fund.
"There is the potential for market abuse by advisers levying charges," Mr Smith says. "The market is dependent on the ability of the employer to negotiate these services at a reason-able rate, so we need high visibility from the regulator to make sure the consumer is protected."
The regulator is catching up. Meanwhile, Scottish Life has posted record results for 2012, including a strong final quarter when it stood up against a desperate last commission-paying blitz in the group pensions market by big rivals such as Aviva, Aegon and Scottish Widows ahead of the ban on commissions from January 1.
That upheaval comes alongside the challenge of auto-enrolment, which Mr Smith says is set to transform the way we think about pensions and retirement.
"Auto-enrolment means the whole focus of long-term savings will be around the workplace.
"If you walk into an IFA's office today it is quite likely you will come out with an application form for a personal pension. Going forward, that will increasingly be an unsuitable sale – the first pound should be going into a workplace saving scheme because you are getting a matched contribution from your employer."
The scheme may still be the obvious home for top-up savings too. Scottish Life's strategy is to offer a "middle Britain" solution employers can offer to all levels of the workforce, at a time (from next year onwards) when the sheer number of smaller firms scrambling to find a pension scheme will create turbulence.
Mr Smith says: "We think there is a huge capacity crunch coming in the market - it will run out of provider and adviser capacity really quickly, and we will see failures of employers to meet their auto-enrolment duties. The market will flip over from being a push market to a pull market and one that is hugely demanding with employers saying 'solve my problems, help me!'. That means advisers and the providers that support them are in a great position to add some real value."
He goes on: "We have gone for high-trust, copper-bottomed core solutions for those segments of the market where there is no IFA giving high-touch wealth management - Most of the propositions in this area of the market are really expensive, ours is designed to give value for money."
The mutual could be up against NEST, the body set up by Government with a £170 million loan and a £9m grant to be the default auto-enrolment provider. NEST is restricted to its target market of sub-£4400 a year contributions, and allows no transfer in, but there is pressure for those to be lifted. Mr Smith objects: "Is it a provider of last resort or a commercial provider?"
The other challenge facing the industry is the changing nature of retirement. "Going forward we will see much more flexi-bility in how people draw down their accumulated savings, partly because these might not be enough to allow them to retire - I think customers have been quite badly let down by at-retirement solutions in the past, the Sipp and drawdown markets have been dogged by propositions that are too expensive and unsuitable for middle Britain."