The unnamed shareholder had about £18m invested in the fund, the management of which has been outsourced to Chris Bertelsen of First Albany Asset Management.Gary Marshall, chief executive of Aberdeen Unit Trust Managers, says the withdrawal by the largest shareholder from American Value would make it uneconomic. It would lack “critical mass for portfolio diversification and dealing volumes”. He says: “We believe the proposed merger will provide savings as a result of being part of a larger fund. The total expense ratio of the continuing North American fund is, at 1.56%, lower than the TER of the American Value fund at 1.81%.” Marshall adds, however, that North American has a more conservative approach than American Value: “The risk/return profile of clients’ investment will reduce if the proposed merger is approved. The North American fund invests in typically larger, better-known companies than was the case with the American Value fund.” According to figures from TrustNet, the Aberdeen American Value fund has returned 8.9% over the past five years compared with a fall of 18.4% for the average fund in the North America sector. Alex Ingham has run the £171.5m Aberdeen North American fund since the end of September 2002. Over the past five years, it has fallen by 35% against a sector average fall of 18.4%.