Abrdn facing ‘corporate bullying’ over new name

Peter Branner

Edinburgh investment giant Abrdn is facing “corporate bullying” by the media following its controversial rebrand, according to Peter Branner, the asset manager’s chief investment officer (CIO).

The £500 billion fund manager announced a rebrand which saw it change its name from Standard Life Aberdeen to Abrdn in April 2021.

The new brand’s lack of vowels has seen the name change widely mocked and derided by financial journalists and industry rivals.

In an interview with London trade publication Financial News, CIO Branner said: “I understand that corporate bullying to some extent is part of the game with the press, even though it’s a little childish to keep hammering the missing vowels in our name.

“Would you do that with an individual? How would you look at a person who makes fun of your name day in day out? It’s probably not ethical to do it. But apparently with companies it is different …”

Branner said he has made the morale of staff a priority since joining Abrdn from APG Asset Management, one of the largest global pension investors in Europe.

He said employees regularly discuss how the company is viewed.

“People talk about the press, what has been said and by whom,” said Branner. “It’s remarkable how much stress can go away by talking about it. This transparency gives us a healthy environment.”