Standard Life Aberdeen accelerates plans to return £1.75bn to shareholders

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Fund giant Standard Life Aberdeen has brought forward plans to return £1.75bn to shareholders, saying the first tranche of its share buyback programme would commence “in the next few days”.

The group announced the share buyback in May, saying it would follow the sale of its European insurance business to Phoenix Group.

Standard Life Aberdeen said on Tuesday that it would start the first £175m tranche of its share buyback programme shortly, and that the sale to Phoenix would be completed in the third quarter.

The fund manager, which was formed out of the £11bn merger of Standard Life and Aberdeen Asset Management last year, reported £16.6bn in outflows for the first half of the year.

Its assets under management were £610.1bn, compared with £626.5bn for the same period in 2017.

Pre-tax profit for the period was £127m, up 35pc year-on-year from £94m.

The company said political uncertainty continued to knock investor sentiment, and that these uncertainties were pushing investors to look for new strategies.

Chief executives Martin Gilbert and Keith Skeoch said conditions for the asset management industry were “challenging”.

“Our investment and distribution teams are winning new mandates and we have a good and diverse pipeline of business from around the world. We are actively taking steps to improve our investment performance in key areas and are encouraged by the impact of these initiatives,” they said.

Jefferies analysts said: “Market conditions remain difficult and outflows remain a challenge.

“However, the integration plan appears to be progressing well and cost savings are materialising, with further benefits to come.”

Press Association

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