Posted on Dec. 2021 at 12:28
Stephen Bird wants to breathe new life into Abrdn, the British asset manager born out of the failed merger between Aberdeen Asset Management and insurer Standard Life. The CEO of the Scottish group signed in early December the acquisition of the broker Interactive Investor for 1.49 billion pounds (1.7 billion euros).
This operation should allow the management company to multiply its clientele of individuals by five, by affecting British savers who are followers of the online stock market. Hitherto controlled by private equity fund JC FLowers, Interactive Investor claims 55 million pounds of intermediated assets and 400,000 clients.
Driven by the pandemic, online brokers have seen their order volumes explode since the crash of spring 2020. In the United States, as evidenced by the success of the controversial fintech Robinhood or the asset manager Fidelity, but also in Europe. Including in France where savers are traditionally more reluctant to invest in equities.
In September 2020, Stephen Bird took over from Aberdeen co-founder Martin Gilbert, who spent 30 years at the house. He spent 21 years at Citigroup. In his last role, from 2015 to 2019, the former banker headed the commercial banking division of the American group, after having supervised the activities in Asia-Pacific. Stephen Bird started his career with GE Capital in the UK and British Steel. He holds an MBA from Cardiff University.
The former Sandard Life Aberdeen was renamed Abrdn last September. It manages and administers 532 billion pounds, against 670 billion at the time of its constitution, in the summer of 2017. Since then, its share price has fallen by 53%. In fundraising for four years, the new group suffered in particular from the loss of a colossal mandate from the insurer Scottish Widows, a subsidiary of Lloyds bank and direct competitor of Standard Life, one of its two parents.