Standard Life Aberdeen officially switches to Abrdn

Standard Life Aberdeen officially switches to Abrdn

Standard Life Aberdeen has officially switched its name to Abrdn after first announcing the rebrand back in April.

The firm sealed the face lift by changing its ticker today (July 5) from SLA to ABDN. 

Having kept the ‘Standard Life’ part of its name for almost 200 years, when it was established in 1825, the company merged with Aberdeen in 2017. 

Since the merger, shares of the combined group have fallen about 36 per cent. In 2020, the firm’s accounts show net outflows of £29bn, with adjusted pre-tax profits down 17 per cent to £487m.

Initially operated jointly between Aberdeen’s chief executives Martin Gilbert and Standard Life’s Keith Skeoch, both have since departed the combined business.

Some of the reasons for the fall in revenue and executive reshuffle include a "historic reliance on 'hero' funds", employees departing to found copycat products, and its platforms Wrap and Elevate trailing behind competitors.

In February, Abrdn sold the Standard Life name to FTSE 100 insurance firm Phoenix Group, who it sold its insurance business to and entered an asset management partnership with back in 2018.

With ownership of Standard Life-branded pensions cleared up, agency Wolff Olins helped SLA come up with Abrdn, which is still pronounced ‘Aberdeen’.

Stephen Bird, abrdn’s chief executive who previously headed up global consumer banking at Citi, said “Abrdn is so much more than a new name.” 

He continued: “It’s about our business coming together under a single global brand with a determined focus on enabling our clients and customers to be better investors”.

The new name forms part of the firm’s shift to re-focus on three business strands: global asset management, technology platforms for UK financial advisers and their customers, and UK savings and wealth.

Some in the industry have sneered at the choice of name without the vowels. But others have dismissed the change, saying the name on the letterhead 'only matters so much'.

Mark Polson, principal of the Lang Cat, told FTAdviser: “What is actually important to firms and their clients comes down to two questions: is this a safe home for my clients’ money, and can it assist me in delivering my service and investment proposition to my clients?” 

“If the answer to these two questions is yes, the brand stuff doesn’t really matter so much.”

Alongside its official name change, Abrdn has also announced a partnership with digital education charity Hello World.

This will see the firm fund communities to build 64 new ‘Hello Hubs’ over the next two years, which are designed to provide education to around 80,000 children and adults in disconnected communities.