Following a substantial rise in operating profits and revenue growth, abrdn has ruled out further investment in Russia and Belarus.
The most prominent active asset manager in the UK, abrdn has seen revenues rise for the first time since the merger between Standard Life and Aberdeen formed the company in 2017.
Meanwhile, abrdn CEO Stephen Bird confirmed that the company will not invest in Russia or Belarus “for the foreseeable future.” The firm has subsequently worked to reduce its holdings in both countries.
A “Reset Year” for abrdn as Company Reports Boost in Profits
Last year, abrdn published a public announcement of the company’s stance on investments in Russia or Belarus following events in Ukraine on ESG (environmental, social, and governance) grounds.
The asset management firm shared that it would take action to reduce the company’s exposure to these regions in a “disciplined manner” that protected clients’ interests.
The announcement came after abrdn released its annual results in March 2022. The results revealed the company’s operating profits had rocketed to £323 million in 2021, up from £219 million in 2020.
The increase in operating profits came despite a modest 6% rise in revenue, taking the company’s revenue total to £1.5 billion. The boost in profits is partly due to abrdn’s leaders cutting the cost-income ratio to 79% (down from 85% in 2020).
abrdn’s Three-Year Growth Plan
Bird called 2022 a reset year for abrdn and noted that the rise in profits marked a company milestone. Bird stepped into the role of CEO in 2020 to oversee an evaluation of the company’s operations and a restructuring of the leadership team.
Under Bird’s guidance, in 2021, abrdn put forward a three-year blueprint to halt the decline in revenue and create long-term, sustainable growth. abrdn’s annual results for 2021 show the company’s early success in delivering the growth strategy, with strong progress already made in the first year.
According to Bird, abrdn is moving ahead with the three-year growth plan by stripping non-core assets and expanding the company’s capabilities across private markets. The CEO also reported a sharpening of the company’s focus on its Investments vector. The approach involves identifying the main areas in which abrdn holds a strong advantage over competitors.
Shareholders saw no changes in payouts in 2022 as dividend payments remained at the 2022 price of 14.6 pence per share.
abrdn’s 2021 Rebrand Refocuses Purpose
abrdn’s 2021 results marked the first time that the company’s revenues had grown in five years, since the merger between Standard Life and Aberdeen in 2017. Then Standard Life Aberdeen, the company rebranded as abrdn in 2021, replacing five client-facing brands.
abrdn describes the rebrand as symbolic of the company’s renewed sense of purpose, repositioning operations for the future. The company operates across global markets to build diverse investment solutions, offers UK individuals a range of personal wealth services, and provides UK wealth managers with essential tools to create better opportunities for their clients.
abrdn is the UK’s largest active asset manager, with investments in fixed income, real estate, private markets, equities, liquidity, multi-asset, and sovereign wealth funds.
The company originated in Edinburgh in 1825 and was once Europe’s largest mutual life assurance company. Still headquartered in Edinburgh today, the company manages and administers £508 billion of assets for clients across three vectors: Investments (£386 billion in assets), Adviser (£68 billion in assets), and Personal (£66 billion in assets).
The following clientele use abrdn:
- Individual clients who are looking to save and invest.
- Managers and financial advisers who manage savings and investments on behalf of someone else.
- DC, DB, and LGPS schemes, treasurers, insurers, charities, universities, and family offices.
abrdn provides a range of services to help clients in the UK become better investors and plan financially secure futures. The company has approximately 5,000 employees around the world and draws on an international network of 800 investment professionals across 30 locations.
abrdn recently acquired Finimize, a financial app that provides daily investment insights, and interactive investor, the UK’s premium subscription-based platform for direction investing. Thanks to these acquisitions, clients enjoy a high-tech investment service on their financial journey in a way that works for them.
abrdn is the UK’s leading adviser platform business for assets under administration and the first adviser platform in the UK to receive and retain an “A” rating for the financial strength of its platforms from AKG Financial Analytics.
About abrdn CEO Stephen Bird
Stephen Bird joined the abrdn board in July 2020 as the chief executive designate. He became the company CEO in September 2020. As CEO, Bird led the firm’s rebrand from Standard Life Aberdeen to abrdn in 2021, embracing a modern approach to fund management.
Bird has extensive experience generating high-quality revenue in complex financial markets and delivering exceptional value to clients. His expertise in helping companies transform their operations during periods of upheaval for the financial industry has proven particularly valuable to abrdn.
Bird previously served as Citigroup’s CEO of global consumer banking and, before that, chief executive for the company’s Asia Pacific business lines. During his 21 years with Citigroup, Bird held banking, operations, and technology leadership roles across the company’s Latin American and Asian businesses.
Outside his role with abrdn, Bird is a member of Scotland’s Financial Services Growth and Development Board and the Investment Association’s board of directors. He holds an MBA in Economics and Finance from University College Cardiff.