Standard Life Aberdeen shares up on first day

Keith Skeoch, left, and Martin Gilbert, co-CEOs of Standard Life Aberdeen

UPDATE 2 — Shares of Standard Life Aberdeen edged 2% higher at the market open on Monday — the first day of trading for the combined company following completion of the £11 billion merger between Scottish investment giants Standard Life and Aberdeen Asset Management.

The merger creates the UK’s largest active asset manager, based in Scotland, with assets under administration of roughly £670 billion.

Standard Life Aberdeen will have offices in 50 cities around the world, servicing clients in 80 countries — and will have a stock market value of more than £11 billion.

Standard Life’s Keith Skeoch and Aberdeen’s Martin Gilbert will be co-chief executives of the new company.

Skeoch will manage the nitty-gritty, day-to-day running of the combined company while Gilbert will oversee external affairs and communication.

“The merger harnesses Standard Life’s and Aberdeen’s complementary, market leading investment and savings capabilities,” said the new company.

“It creates an investment group with strong brands, leading institutional and wholesale distribution franchises, market leading platforms and access to long-standing, strategic partnerships globally.

“By combining the two companies’ strong balance sheets, the combined group will have greater ability to invest for growth and innovate.

“The group’s investment business, Aberdeen Standard Investments, manages £583 billion (€641 billion, US$758 billion) of assets.

“This newly combined business will retain a long standing commitment to active investment management with a similar investment culture and approach, underpinned by fundamental research.

“It immediately becomes one of the largest active managers in Europe, offering clients access to a comprehensive range of developed and emerging market equities and fixed income, multi-asset, real estate and alternatives solutions.

“As a combined business it will have over 1,000 investment professionals based around the world.

“The group’s pensions and savings business, Standard Life, has around 4.5 million customers and is based primarily in the UK, with operations in Ireland and Germany.

“The business has established a market-leading position through a long-term commitment to support the needs of employers and their employees.

“Over one in six people auto-enrolled into a workplace pension in the UK enjoys the benefits of a Standard Life workplace pension.”

Skeoch said: “Today marks the culmination of many months of hard work and preparation by our business and the beginning of a new chapter in our history as Standard Life Aberdeen plc.

“Our leadership team is in place and we have full business readiness from day one.

“Our people have worked exceptionally well together to complete the merger on schedule and we would like to thank them for this.

“The co-operation and collaboration we have witnessed bodes well in helping us create a world-class investment company for our clients, shareholders and people.”

Gilbert said: “As ever our priority remains the delivery of strong investment performance and the highest level of client service.

“The merger deepens and broadens our investment capabilities and gives us a stronger and more diverse range of investment management skills as well as significant scale across asset classes and geographies.

“We believe this will enable us to deliver an even better proposition and service to our enlarged client base.”