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Rating:Meet Aberdeen and Standard Life's Chief in the Americas Not Rated 0.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Thursday, May 11, 2017

Meet Aberdeen and Standard Life's Chief in the Americas

News summary by MFWire's editors

Two merging, publicly traded, Scottish multinational asset management giants appear to have picked their chief for this side of the pond, as well their initial combined brands. Meanwhile, it's not clear what big post-merger job cuts worldwide will mean over here.

Bev Hendry
Aberdeen Asset Management
Co-head of the Americas
Bev Hendry, who has been co-head of the Americas for Aberdeen Asset Management [profile], is identified in the 245-page Standard Life-Aberdeen merger prospectus as the expected "head of Americas" for the combined company once the deal closes next quarter (the current target is August 14). Hendry is listed as a member of what will be the combined firm's asset management committee. The planned combined brand for the whole company will be Standard Life Aberdeen plc, while the investment arm will be Aberdeen Standard Life Investments Limited.

Hendry and Andrew Smith took over as Aberdeen's Americas co-CEOs three years ago. Smith is not mentioned in the merger prospectus, which was released earlier this week. Word in the industry is that Smith retired from Aberdeen at the end of 2016.

Aberdeen CEO Martin Gilbert and Standard Life CEO Keith Skeoch, who will become co-CEOs of the combined company, plan to cut about 800 jobs worldwide via a "phased reduction" over the three-year integration period after the merger, the prospectus reveals. That's 20-percent less than the 1,000 job cuts rumor that Gilbert dismissed as "way, way exaggerated" two months ago when Standard Life's purchase of Aberdeen was first unveiled. Standard Life has about 6,300 total employees, while Aberdeen has about 2,700, so 800 jobs is about 8.9 percent of the total.

Reuters and Pensions & Investments both covered the planned cuts revealed this week.

What's not clear is where those cuts will come from geographically, but the prospectus does say that "the rationalisation and consolidation of premises where Standard Life and Aberdeen already operate from multiple locations in a close geographic proximity."

Of the two companies, Aberdeen has a more substantial presence on this side of the pond, and the prospectus specifically notes that the combined company "will benefit from Aberdeen's investment in locat distribution throughout Asia and the US, delivering strong institutional and wholesale relationships ..."

Though the prospectus doesn't break down where Aberdeen's employees around the globe, it does reveal that about 16.6 percent ($65.7 billion) of Aberdeen's 308.1 billion pounds ($396.4 billion) in worldwide AUM comes from clients in the Americas, as of March 2017. That's up from 14.1 percent of worldwide Aberdeen AUM in September 2014. Philadelphia is home to Aberdeen's North America hub, along with investment teams focused on fixed income, U.S. equities, and property. Aberdeen also has distribution, alts, high-yield, and total return bond teams in what the prospectus describes as "a growing office in New York." Aberdeen also has offices in Toronto and Sao Paulo.

Standard Life, on the other hand, has 102 employees in North America, the prospectus reveals. That's down from 255 employees in 2015 and 2,198 in 2014. 6.8 percent (12.7 billion pounds, i.e. $16.33 billion) of Standard Life Investments' 187.7 billion pounds ($241.4 billion) in worldwide third-party AUM is for North American clients, mainly institutional ones. Like Aberdeen, Standard Life Investments has offices in New York and Toronto, and it also has offices in Boston and Los Angeles.

Standard Life issued a two-page FAQ on the impending merger that, among other things, explains Gilbert's and Skeoch's planned division of labor, and Standard Life chairman Gerry Grimstone wrote a letter to shareholders, accompanying a 114-pagecircular explaining the merger. Separately, Standard Life lays out the proposed post-merger changes to its board of directors. 

Edited by: Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

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