Regulator lifts Aberdeen’s cash buffer to £475m

Aberdeen Asset Management CEO Martin Gilbert

The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has increased the required minimum level of capital that should be held by Aberdeen Asset Management for regulatory purposes.

Aberdeen’s regulatory capital requirement will now be £475 million, up from its previous level of £435 million.

However, Aberdeen said that £435 million had included a self-imposed headroom of £100 million.

The move is another sign that regulators are increasing their scrutiny of the asset management industry.

“Since the nature of the risks covered by the new scalar are similar to those previously provided for by Aberdeen through the self-imposed headroom, the board has decided to reduce the quantum of the self-imposed headroom on an ongoing basis,” said the firm.

“The group’s available capital remains comfortably above this new minimum requirement,” added Aberdeen.

In a note to clients, analysts at Credit Suisse said there was a good chance Aberdeen’s dividend would be maintained.

“It seems the FCA’s regulatory gaze has now fixed upon the asset managers and so we would be surprised if Aberdeen is alone amongst its peer group in being required to hold more capital,” said Credit Suisse.

“Aberdeen’s prudent decision to hold a capital buffer has been vindicated and, save for a material downturn in markets, we expect shareholders will benefit via dividend stability.”

On July 25, Aberdeen said it had net outflows of £8.9 billion during the quarter to June 30 but this was offset by £17.5 billion of asset appreciation.

Assets under management at the international fund manager rose to £301.4 billion from £292.8 billion at March 31.