Aberdeen and Standard Life shareholders approve merger

Aberdeen Asset Management and Standard Life shareholders have both approved the proposed £11bn merger, which will create one of the UK’s largest asset managers.

Over 95 per cent of Aberdeen votes were in favour of the merger, a London Stock Exchange regulatory filing from this afternoon shows, and 98.6 per cent of Standard Life votes were in favour of the merger.

Aberdeen chairman Simon Troughton says shareholders recognise the “strategic and financial rationale of the transaction which will create the UK’s largest active asset manager and one of the top 25 globally”.  

The merged asset manager would have assets totalling around £660bn. Existing chief executives Martin Gilbert and Keith Skeoch will become co-chief executives of the new company, which will be known as Standard Life Aberdeen.

Troughton says the two businesses’ investment capabilities and distribution channels are “highly complementary” and the strengths of the combined businesses will lie in multi-asset and solutions, alternatives and active specialities, such as emerging markets.

“The new company will have a robust balance sheet and diverse revenue streams, by asset class and distribution channel.”

Troughton adds: “Today represents another landmark for Aberdeen, which started 34 years ago as a £70 million investment trust and grew to become a world-renowned asset manager managing billions of assets and employing thousands of people around the globe.”

Standard Life chairman Gerry Grimstone says he is “delighted” with the vote, stating it will be “one of the most significant events in our near-200 year history”.

“Proudly headquartered in Scotland, and employing some of the best talent in our industry, our new combined company will continue to put our customers and clients across the world at the centre of everything we do.”

Grimstone says they are still on track for a completion date of 14 August pending some approvals.

Caroline Belcher, partner and co-head of financial services at Cavendish Corporate Finance, says: “The merger marks Standard Life’s further evolution from a traditional insurer into an investment powerhouse to create a strong force in active management – an investment strategy which has come under growing pressure from larger competitors like Blackrock, and passive asset manager like Vanguard.

“The deal also is reflective of the trend towards consolidation in the asset management sector as firms seek to diversify their offerings, achieve costs savings and compete on the global stage.”

The Competition and Markets Authority announced last month that it was investigating the deal. It will make a decision by 18 July.