Abrdn appoints London-based CEO of wealth unit

Caroline Connellan

Edinburgh-based Standard Life Aberdeen (SLA) — currently changing its name to Abrdn — has announced the appointment of Caroline Connellan as chief executive officer of Personal Wealth.

Connellan will report directly to Stephen Bird, CEO of Standard Life Aberdeen plc, as a member of the executive leadership team.

She will be based in London.

Connellan will join Standard Life Aberdeen from wealth manager Brooks Macdonald Group plc where she is CEO, having led that business since early 2017.

“She has overseen strong year on year growth in funds under management, revenue and profit as well as executing key acquisitions and driving significant transformation to support the success of the business,” said Abrdn.

“Prior to this, Caroline held key senior roles at HSBC, including Head of UK Premier and Wealth, and has extensive consulting experience across the asset management and wealth sector with McKinsey.

“Her earlier career included roles with Standard Life and as a Private Client Fund Manager with Newton Investment Management.”

SLA’s Personal Wealth business includes 1825 Financial Planning and SLA’s direct-to-customer propositions including Digital Retirement Advice.

Connellan’s appointment comes at a key juncture as SLA looks to significantly grow Personal Wealth under its recently announced unifying single brand Abrdn.

Standard Life Aberdeen CEO Stephen Bird: “I am delighted that Caroline will be joining us.

“She is an outstanding talent with clear and proven ability in building exceptional wealth management businesses, both organically and via acquisition.

“Critically, she has a deep customer-centric mindset and extensive experience in creating compelling and innovative offerings.

“Earlier this year, we outlined our strategy for growth encompassing three vectors; asset management, adviser and personal.

“Alongside significant investment in asset management and our adviser support business, our intention is to build a market-leading wealth management proposition to capture value in the growing savings and pre-retirement market.

“The appointment of Caroline to lead our Personal Wealth business will be instrumental in delivering our objectives and I’m extremely pleased that she has shown strong confidence in our strategy and brand by joining us.”

Connellan said: “It’s an exciting time to be joining SLA given its ambitions and commitment to the growing wealth market.

“Stephen’s vision for the business is dynamic and bold, and I’m delighted to have the opportunity to lead and shape the Personal Wealth business, building on its current quality offering.

“There is an increasing need for individuals to save for the future, particularly for retirement, in a way that works for them – I believe we can play an important role in this, through a market-leading offering, digital innovation and strong customer relationships.

“I’m hugely looking forward to joining the leadership team at SLA and playing my part in leading the change over the coming years.”

Edinburgh-based Standard Life Aberdeen manages and administers £535 billion of assets worldwide. It has offices in over 50 locations worldwide and employ around 6,000 people. The firm has over 1 million shareholders and is listed on the London Stock Exchange.