Scotland business

Profits dip at Standard Life Aberdeen

Standard Life Aberdeen sign Image copyright Standard Life Aberdeen

Standard Life Aberdeen has seen profits dip by more than £30m in the first half of this year.

Adjusted pre-tax profits fell from £311m in the first six months of 2018 to £280m in the same period in 2019.

However, the Edinburgh-based pensions and fund management giant also saw an increase in the value of the assets it manages.

Chief executive officer Keith Skeoch said the figures represented "good progress in reshaping our business".

He said the Edinburgh-based company was set up to "take advantage of the trends impacting our industry, both globally and in the UK".

Major investors

The value of assets being managed by Standard Life Aberdeen rose by 5% between December and the end of June as some asset valuations rose.

However, the company also reported a £15bn outflow of funds, continuing a challenge it has faced recently - often because major investors choose to place their funds elsewhere.

A dispute with Lloyd Banking Group, and its Scottish Widows subsidiary, saw the removal of about £70bn.

But in an arbitrated settlement, £35bn of Scottish Widows funds have been retained with Standard Life Aberdeen, at least until 2022.

Share price

The company reported low demand for equity investments across the wider market, caused by "ongoing political uncertainty in the UK and a reduction in defined benefit to defined contribution pension transfer activity".

In the hours after the announcement of the results, its share price fell 5% to 266p.

Shares had peaked at 448p shortly after the merger of Aberdeen Asset Management and Standard Life two years ago.

Standard Life Aberdeen has made a significant move into the Chinese pensions market in recent months by securing a licence, with a partner, to operate in the country.

It has also been expanding its financial advice service, branded 1825, with the purchase of wealth management firms in that sector. These included part of Grant Thornton and BDO Northern Ireland.

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