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GREAT WHITE HOPE?

The merger of Standard Life and Aberdeen is a sign of the times in asset manager consolidation, but who will be the winners and losers from the trend?

Viewpoint Asset manager M&A

The industry was already abuzz with talk about consolidation and whispers of potential targets well before Standard Life pulled the trigger and initiated the takeover of Aberdeen Asset Management (see page 4).

But the match-up between the insurance and investment giant with a fund group that saw consistent multi-billion pound outflows over 2016 changed the dynamic of the conversation. It was no longer a question of whether the industry would consolidate further, but rather when.

Passive aggressive

Some fund houses, sensing the new found urgency of the situation, addressed the elephant in the room shortly after the £11bn Standard Life/Aberdeen union. Maarten Slendebroek, chief executive at Jupiter, kicked off the firm’s annual investment dinner by defiantly declaring to the room: “We are not looking to be acquired by anyone.” At its core, Jupiter’s lean, people-centric business model is incompatible with M&A activity, he told the audience.

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