Abrdn makes board changes; rules out Russia

Pam Kaur

Abrdn plc announced board changes with its annual results on Tuesday as the Edinburgh investment giant revealed that Martin Pike and Jutta af Rosenborg, its two longest-serving directors, will not stand for re-election at the 2022 AGM.

Former JP Morgan Asset Management executive Mike O’Brien and current HSBC group chief risk and compliance officer Pam Kaur will be appointed to the board and to the audit and risk and capital committees of Abrdn with effect from June 1, 2022. 

The fees of O’Brien and Kaur as non-executive directors of Abrdn plc will be £73,500 per annum and their fees as members of the audit and risk and capital committees will be £17,500 per committee per annum.

Their appointments will be subject to election by shareholders at the AGM on May 18, 2022.

Following these changes, the Abrdn board will comprise two executive directors, nine non-executive directors and the chairman. 

The board will be made up of six women and six men.   

Abrdn also said it will not be investing in Russia or Belarus for the foreseeable future.

Abrdn on Tuesday reported a 47% rise in 2021 adjusted operating profit to £323 million as its fee-based revenue rose 6% to £1.515 billion.

Net outflows fell to £6.2 billion from £29 billion in 2020.

Assets under management and administration rose £7 billion or 1% to £542 billion reflecting positive market movements, “the impact of corporate actions” and net flows.

Mike O’Brien has held executive leadership roles within a number of leading global asset managers in London and New York,” said Abrdn.

“He retired in 2020 as Co-Head, Global Investment Solutions at JP Morgan Asset Management.  

“Mike brings extensive asset management experience with a key focus throughout his career on innovation and technology driven change in support of better client outcomes. 

“A qualified actuary, during his executive career with JP Morgan Asset Management, BlackRock Investment Management and Barclays Global Investors, he was responsible for developing and leading global investment solutions, distribution and relationship management strategies.

Pam Kaur has over twenty years’ experience of leadership roles in business, risk, compliance and internal audit within several of the world’s largest and most complex financial institutions during periods of significant change and public scrutiny. 

“In her current role as Group Chief Risk and Compliance Officer at HSBC she is at the forefront of the development and implementation of compliance, audit and risk frameworks and adapting these to changing regulatory expectations.”

Abrdn chairman Douglas Flint said: “On behalf of the board, I would like to thank Jutta and Martin for their dedicated service to abrdn during a period of great change and transformation. 

“As our two longest-serving directors, they were instrumental in the vision that brought Standard Life and Aberdeen Asset Management together and the transformation of the company to a capital-light business.  

“I have greatly benefited from their experience and knowledge of Abrdn’s business and wish them well in the next chapters of their careers.

I am delighted to welcome Mike and Pam to our board. 

“Mike’s curiosity and well informed perspectives on the evolution of the asset management sector will be very informative to our strategy discussions and future growth plans. 

“Pam’s experience in finance, risk, compliance and audit roles will support the board in its responsibility to oversee the structure and operation of the group-wide risk and compliance frameworks which are in place across our regions and business vectors.”

Abrdn said on the Ukraine situation: “We want to express our deepest concern and sadness at events happening in Ukraine.

“Abrdn has concluded that we will not be investing in Russia or Belarus for the foreseeable future, on ESG grounds.

“We have already taken action to reduce our exposure to these regions in a disciplined manner, protecting our clients’ interests.

“We will continue to follow developments very closely and take whatever steps are necessary in the interests of our clients, shareholders and other stakeholders in the business.”