SLA.L - Standard Life Aberdeen plc

LSE - LSE Delayed Price. Currency in GBp
283.80
-1.90 (-0.67%)
At close: 4:35PM BST
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Previous Close285.70
Open285.70
Bid284.20 x 0
Ask284.40 x 0
Day's Range282.70 - 289.70
52 Week Range219.10 - 311.80
Volume7,150,437
Avg. Volume9,795,821
Market Cap6.724B
Beta (3Y Monthly)1.43
PE Ratio (TTM)6.12
EPS (TTM)46.40
Earnings DateN/A
Forward Dividend & Yield0.22 (7.57%)
Ex-Dividend Date2019-08-15
1y Target Est380.07
  • Reuters

    UPDATE 2-Top-5 BHP investor Aberdeen Standard piles on climate pressure ahead of AGM

    One of BHP's biggest shareholders Aberdeen Standard Investments on Wednesday added to pressure for the world's leading miner to cut ties with lobby groups it says are at odds with the company's pledges on climate leadership. Earlier, the Church of England Pensions Board urged shareholder advisers to review their opposition to a resolution calling on BHP to withdraw from groups that lobby for policies inconsistent with global climate change limitation goals. Aberdeen Standard Investments, which holds around 3.2% of BHP's stock, said it was taking the rare step of speaking out ahead of a vote at BHP's annual shareholder meeting in London on Oct. 17 because of the urgency of tackling climate change, and after its research found the lobby groups were the biggest single obstacle to progress.

  • Financial Times

    Major BHP shareholder urges miner to suspend lobbying

    One of BHP’s largest shareholders is to push the company to suspend its membership of controversial lobbying groups, as the world’s biggest miner faces an investor rebellion at its annual meeting next week. Standard Life Aberdeen, a top five shareholder in BHP, told the Financial Times it would vote for a shareholder resolution calling on the Anglo-Australian company to suspend its membership of powerful advocacy groups that engage in obstructive lobbying for the fossil fuels industry.

  • Financial Times

    Movers & shakers, October 7

    Martin Gilbert will step down next year from his role as vice-chairman of Standard Life Aberdeen, the £526bn Edinburgh-based asset manager. Mr Gilbert, a prolific deal maker, helped found Aberdeen Asset Management in 1983 and was instrumental in pushing through its merger with Standard Life in 2017.  He will leave SLA entirely within the next 12 months and is soon expected to be appointed chairman at Revolut, the digital bank. Intermediate Capital Group has appointed Mervyn Davies as chairman-designate of the €38.6bn London-listed alternative asset manager.

  • Fund Giant Founder Abandons $1 Trillion Club Dream
    Bloomberg

    Fund Giant Founder Abandons $1 Trillion Club Dream

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- The merger that created Standard Life Aberdeen Plc two years ago was designed to produce an asset manager big enough to survive the existential threats facing the fund management industry. Martin Gilbert, founder of the Aberdeen side of the equation, hoped to join what he called “that $1 trillion club” by growing assets under management. The reality has been somewhat different.Standard Life Aberdeen’s current market value of 6.7 billion pounds ($8.2 billion) is about half of what it was in August 2017 when the merger was completed. Back then, the company oversaw 670 billion pounds. Outflows in every quarter since have reduced that to 577.5 billion pounds – leaving it about 30% short of the magical figure cited by Gilbert.So Wednesday’s announcement that he’s leaving the firm after more than three decades marks something of a failure for the dealmaker. Starting with what he says was “three people in one office in Aberdeen,” Gilbert brokered more than 40 deals during his career, with his fund management company qualifying for inclusion in the benchmark FTSE 100 index in 2012.His departure was perhaps inevitable after Standard Life Aberdeen made Keith Skeoch sole chief executive officer in March, abandoning the dual-CEO roles around since the merger and demoting Gilbert to vice chairman. But it must still sting.The merger was supposed to herald a wave of tie-ups in the industry as fellow mid-sized asset managers recognized the benefits of scale and sought to strengthen themselves through alliances. Apart from the creation of Janus Henderson Group Plc, though, big M&A deals have proven illusory.  And even the architect of that transaction seems to have had second thoughts. “Big isn’t necessarily better,” Andrew Formica, who engineered the 2017 merger of Henderson with Janus Capital, said in August from his new position as CEO of the much smaller Jupiter Fund Management Plc.It’s impossible to verify or falsify Skeoch’s oft-repeated claim that his company is still better off than the two standalone companies would have been. But it’s fair to say that the perceived failure of the industry’s two big mergers to deliver value for shareholders has deterred others from seeking similar transactions.For his part, Gilbert says he’s “looking forward to fresh challenges in the next stage of my career.” The 64-year-old looks set to join U.K. fintech startup Revolut Ltd. Two years on, though, the biggest deal of his career looks more like a warning of the dangers of overconfidence than a roadmap for the asset management industry.To contact the author of this story: Mark Gilbert at magilbert@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Melissa Pozsgay at mpozsgay@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Mark Gilbert is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering asset management. He previously was the London bureau chief for Bloomberg News. He is also the author of "Complicit: How Greed and Collusion Made the Credit Crisis Unstoppable."For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Veteran investor Gilbert to leave Standard Life Aberdeen
    Reuters

    Veteran investor Gilbert to leave Standard Life Aberdeen

    Veteran investor Martin Gilbert will leave Standard Life Aberdeen next year, ending a career spanning more than three decades at the helm of one of Britain's most successful asset managers. Gilbert oversaw the meteoric rise of Aberdeen Asset Management, the small company he co-founded in 1983 with just 50 million pounds in assets, to what became the country's biggest listed fund firm at the time of its 11 billion pound merger with Standard Life in 2017. Touted as a strong tie-up of two of Scotland's biggest financial services companies, Gilbert and Standard Life peer Keith Skeoch initially shared the role of chief executive, despite some discontent from shareholders.

  • Standard Life Vice Chair to Retire From Company He Helped Found
    Bloomberg

    Standard Life Vice Chair to Retire From Company He Helped Found

    (Bloomberg) -- Martin Gilbert is leaving Standard Life Aberdeen Plc, the asset manager he helped found more than three decades ago.Gilbert lost his grip on power at Standard Life in March when the Edinburgh-based asset manager scrapped its co-CEO structure that had been in place since the company was created in a 2017 merger. The 64-year-old was made vice chairman, while fishing companion and friend Keith Skeoch became the sole chief executive officer.“It has been an incredible journey, almost unimaginable from the earliest days when we were just three people in one office in Aberdeen with 50 million pounds ($61.3 million) under management,” Gilbert said in a statement from Standard Life on Wednesday. “I still have a great enthusiasm for growing and guiding businesses and I am looking forward to fresh challenges in the next stage of my career.”Gilbert’s departure from one of U.K.’s largest asset managers comes after the firm failed to stanch the bleeding of assets as clients yanked 15.9 billion pounds in the first six months of the year.Gilbert helped build Aberdeen Asset Management through dozens of acquisitions starting in the early 1980s. The combination of Aberdeen and Standard Life two years ago was intended to create a heavyweight capable of competing with low-fee passive money managers that have seized an increasing share of the market in recent years.As standalone companies the two struggled, and it has been a similar story for the combined companies. Standard Life Aberdeen saw more than 70 billion pounds of outflows in 2017 and 2018 and the tie-up scuppered one its biggest institutional contracts.U.K. fintech startup Revolut Ltd.’s Chief Executive Officer Nikolay Storonsky said in early August that Gilbert and he were in talks about him joining Revolut’s board.Gilbert’s asset management career began after he joined the law firm Brander & Cruickshank in Aberdeen, a Scottish city facing the North Sea, in 1982. Within a year, Gilbert and two of his colleagues bought the law firm’s investment trust unit.Over the next three decades, Gilbert engineered more than 40 deals, navigating over a dozen market downturns and the financial crisis in 2008 to eventually turn Aberdeen Asset Management into one the U.K.’s largest money managers. In 2012, with about 174 billion pounds in assets under management, the company made it onto the FTSE 100 Index.Troubles started to mount after its entry onto the bluechip index. The firm had to fight outflows, as investors shifted into cheaper passive funds. Gilbert finally agreed to the deal with Skeoch, the CEO of Standard Life Plc, which had been suffering withdrawals from its flagship funds.The two men disclosed an all-share transaction in March 2017 in a bid to benefit from strength in numbers and gain economies of scale. Gilbert said at the time the firm could eventually join “that $1 trillion club.” They also got into an unconventional management structure: the friends of 30 years became co-CEOs of the business.The company justified the move by saying Skeoch would manage day-to-day business operations, while Gilbert would be responsible for “external matters” such as client engagement, marketing and business development. The arrangement was abandoned earlier this year.Standard Life lost the majority of its 104 billion-pound contract with Lloyds Banking Group Plc, in what was one of the most high-profile disputes in the U.K. fund management industry’s history. Lloyds agreed to pay Standard Life 140 million pounds in cash as compensation and leave 35 billion pounds of the total under their management until April 2022, according to a statement on July 24.The scrapping of the dual-CEO structure was intended to streamline reporting lines and facilitate the next stages of the merger, which is 75% complete, the company said in a statement in March.Gilbert has been on the board since Standard Life’s 2017 merger and was previously on the board of Aberdeen from 1983. He is also on the advisory board at Tennor Holding, the investment vehicle of German financier Lars Windhorst, and is a senior independent director on the board of commodities trader Glencore Plc.(Updates with Gilbert’s board memberships in last paragraph.)To contact the reporters on this story: Suzy Waite in London at swaite8@bloomberg.net;Nishant Kumar in London at nkumar173@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Shelley Robinson at ssmith118@bloomberg.net, Ambereen ChoudhuryFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Fund Giant Has a $6.3 Billion Target On Its Back
    Bloomberg

    Fund Giant Has a $6.3 Billion Target On Its Back

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Asset managers face “tough industry conditions with flows difficult to come by and fees under pressure,” says Standard Life Aberdeen Plc Chief Executive Officer Keith Skeoch. He’s not wrong; but competitors are weathering the ongoing storm far, far better than his firm is this year.As the chart above shows, SLA’s performance this year is dismal, with its shares languishing at their lowest level since March. Last week Skeoch made his first solo outing at the top of the greasy pole, unveiling the company’s first-half performance five months after Martin Gilbert was moved to the vice chairman role following a couple of years as co-CEO of the firm he and Skeoch created in a merger. The numbers didn’t look good.With $577.5 billion pounds ($700 billion) of assets under management at mid-year, it isn’t just the declining pound that’s prevented SLA from joining the $1 trillion club. Net outflows in the first six months of the year were 15.9 billion pounds; in the past two years, clients have pulled more than 87 billion pounds from the firm. The merger has turned out to be more of a distraction than a savior.QuicktakeActive vs. Passive InvestingIt’s not a good look when, a few minutes into your earnings conference call with analysts, you’re touting the recent appointment of a new head of human resources as one of the key leadership changes that will steady the ship. Asked on a media call on Wednesday about low morale at the company, Skeoch acknowledged that merging two different cultures has not been easy. “It’s something we take seriously and we’re working really hard at.”Lackluster performance by SLA’s portfolio managers has taken its toll on customer appetite for its funds. By the end of June, 47% of the assets managed by the firm were trailing their benchmarks on a one-year basis. While that’s an improvement on the 53% that were underperforming at the end of last year, it’s not exactly going to help the sales force when pitching to customers, even though the three-year performance improved to 65% of assets beating their benchmark.The most significant number associated with SLA, though, may be its market capitalization. At a smidgen over 6 billion pounds, its core business is valued at just 800 million pounds once you discount what it calculates are its 900 million pound stake in Phoenix Group Holdings Plc, the 1.5 billion pounds it has invested in HDFC Asset Management Co. and the 2.8 billion pounds it owns of HDFC Life Insurance Co.The first stake arose from SLA’s February 2018 decision to sell its insurance business to Phoenix. SLA views it as a strategic holding, along with its 30% ownership of India’s HDFC Asset Management. But the latter has to increase its publicly-traded float to a minimum of 25% in the next two years, up from about 14% currently; SLA says it is likely to participate in that process. The 23% holding in India’s HDFC Life is deemed non-strategic and has already been reduced by more than 6% by sales earlier in the year (although SLA says it’s obliged to hold 9 percentage points until March 2021).So let’s indulge in a game of fantasy M&A. Even at its reduced market capitalization of 6 billion pounds – down from almost 10 billion pounds a year ago – SLA would be a mouthful for even the most cash-rich of private equity buyers, especially after building in a takeover premium.But there’s 5.2 billion pounds ($6.3 billion) worth of publicly-traded assets on the balance sheet. And while it would take time to find buyers for those shares, it isn’t too much of a stretch to envisage a couple of private equity firms viewing SLA as a break-up candidate and teaming up to dismember the firm.Skeoch said last week that he’ll “remain focused on ensuring that we unlock the value of the assets on the balance sheet.” If he doesn’t get a wiggle on, he may find that others are more than willing to take SLA off the market and liberate those stakes for themselves.To contact the author of this story: Mark Gilbert at magilbert@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephanie Baker at stebaker@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Mark Gilbert is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering asset management. He previously was the London bureau chief for Bloomberg News. He is also the author of "Complicit: How Greed and Collusion Made the Credit Crisis Unstoppable."For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Faltering Fund Giants Show Perils of Bulking Up
    Bloomberg

    Faltering Fund Giants Show Perils of Bulking Up

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- In October 2016, Henderson Chief Executive Officer Andrew Formica was busy merging his firm with Janus Capital in a bid to join the fund management industry’s $1 trillion club.“Others will say they wish they’d done it,” he said. Fast forward to his current job running the much smaller Jupiter Fund Management Plc. “Big isn’t necessarily better,” he now says.The mergers that produced Janus Henderson Group Plc and Standard Life Aberdeen Plc were supposed to usher in a wave of consolidation in the European fund management industry. That hasn’t happened – and the dismal performance of the two companies since is proving to be a deterrent to any peers thinking of expanding through acquisition.On Wednesday, SLA reported that customers pulled 15.9 billion pounds ($19.4 billion) out of its funds, more than the 13.4 billion pounds analysts had expected.While rising markets boosted performance to drive assets under management up to 577.5 billion pounds by the middle of the year, they are still 5% below their level at the end of 2017. Scale, it seems, isn’t sufficient to attract customer flows.Last week, Janus Henderson reported its seventh consecutive quarter of withdrawals. Assets under management fell to $359.8 billion by mid-year, down from $370.1 billion a year earlier.Those outflows come as performance has suffered. By the end of June, just 66% of the firm’s funds had outperformed their benchmarks in the previous year, compared with 72% on a three-year basis and 80% over five years.It seems fair to speculate that the distraction of combining two firms has taken a toll on the portfolio managers. Melding two different cultures is never easy. That may well explain the reluctance of rivals to merge.For sure, Jupiter’s Formica is cutting his cloth according to his new situation. In his current berth he oversees about $56 billion. But it’s not just the smaller asset management firms that have been put off by the less than stellar experience of Europe’s two biggest fund mergers.Asoka Woehrmann, CEO of DWS Group GmbH, was asked on an earnings conference call a few weeks ago about his firm’s ambitions to become a top 10 player in the industry. “How many mergers happened in this industry and after three years, you are sitting asking the reason why?” he replied. “This is exactly what we are going to avoid.”With about $805 billion of assets, Woehrmann acknowledged that it would take a “transformational deal” for DWS to get into the top tier, where firms need at least $1.3 trillion of assets. But he stressed the need for patience. “To be big is not our main target,” he said. “Increasing shareholder value is the most relevant target.”That certainly hasn’t been the experience of the owners of SLA stock.Mergers may still happen. Deutsche Bank AG, which owns about 80% of DWS, still seems keen to find a partner for the asset manager. UBS Group AG is similarly anxious to do a deal with its funds arm. And now that GAM Holding AG has drawn a line under its troubles, a suitor may be tempted to bid for it.But in fund management, the firm’s most valuable assets walk out of the door every evening. SLA and Janus Henderson are stark reminders of the difficulties that the industry still faces – and that mergers are no panacea.(Corrects spelling of Janus in first paragraph.)To contact the author of this story: Mark Gilbert at magilbert@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Edward Evans at eevans3@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Mark Gilbert is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering asset management. He previously was the London bureau chief for Bloomberg News. He is also the author of "Complicit: How Greed and Collusion Made the Credit Crisis Unstoppable."For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.