Standard Life Aberdeen profits dip as clients withdraw £52bn in six months

Pedro Gonçalves
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Standard Life Aberdeen profits dip as clients withdraw £52bn in six months

Standard Life Aberdeen recorded outflows of £52.4bn in the first six months of this year, with the company registering an adjusted pre-tax profit of £280m in the period to 30 June, a 10% drop from £311m for the first half of last year.

Inflows of £36.5bn were swamped by outflows of £52.4bn as customers defected in the wake of poor performances in global equities, emerging markets and Asia Pacific.

Outflows from its flagship Gars fund continued to rise in the first six months of 2019, hitting £6.1bn despite a recovery in performance.  

We have made good progress in reshaping our business so that it is set up to take advantage of the trends impacting our industry both globally and in the UK"

Still, net outflow was down on the previous two six-monthly periods, when a net £16.9bn and £24bn were withdrawn respectively.

The fund manager recorded assets under management & administration from continuing operations of £577.5bn at June 30, up 4.7% from £551.5bn six months earlier.

"Encouragingly this was helped by an improvement in the investment performance of key strategies with reduced net outflows from Absolute Return compared to the second half of 2018. However, despite this improvement in investment performance, demand for equities remains low across the wider market and we continued to see elevated equity net outflows," said Standard Life.

It also hailed an improvement in the performance of its fund managers: 65% of its investment strategies beat their benchmark over the past three years, which was up on the 50% recorded a year ago.

"We have made good progress in reshaping our business so that it is set up to take advantage of the trends impacting our industry both globally and in the UK," said chief executive Keith Skeoch. "We are also building for the future, with our business in China securing a licence to develop a pensions business and our financial advisory business 1825 announcing two acquisitions that will significantly increase its assets, number of advisers and national reach."

SLA, which was the result of a merger two years ago between Standard Life and Aberdeen Asset Management, said it had achieved £234m of the annual £350m annual cost savings it had previously promised.

The interim dividend was held at 7.3p. The yield of more than 7% and a major share buyback programme has helped to stabilise the share price this year after a steep fall in 2018.

 

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