AAM adds £400m of assets after buying AEC

ABERDEEN Asset Management yesterday announced the latest deal in its acquisition spree with an agreement to buy specialist investment manager Advance Emerging Capital (AEC).

Martin Gilbert of Aberdeen Asset Management. Picture: Neil Hanna
Martin Gilbert of Aberdeen Asset Management. Picture: Neil Hanna
Martin Gilbert of Aberdeen Asset Management. Picture: Neil Hanna

The deal is the fifth in as many months as the Scottish fund manager looks to further diversify its business.

Co-founder and chief executive Martin Gilbert said London-based AEC had nearly two decades of experience managing portfolios of primarily closed end, but also open end, fund-of-fund vehicles.

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Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but AEC managed some £409 million in assets across a range of investment funds as of 30 June.

Following the deal, Aberdeen will manage 33 closed end funds with overall assets under management of more than £8.5 billion.

The AEC team includes four investment professionals with more than 50 years’ of combined investment experience. They will be based in Aberdeen’s London office and will be part of the group’s “alternatives” business which is led by Andrew McCaffery.

Gilbert said: “The acquisition of Advance Emerging Capital brings to Aberdeen a dedicated and highly experienced fund management team, expands further our closed end fund business and adds to the range of alternative investment capabilities we already offer.

“AEC investors will benefit from the management team being part of a larger, independent asset manager and the ability to draw on the group’s established distribution and operational expertise in regard to closed end funds.”

Andrew Lister, co-chief investment officer of Advance Emerging Capital, added: “Aberdeen is an investment house we have immense respect for, and with which we share a similar investment philosophy and appreciation of the benefits of the closed end fund structure.

“Sitting within Aberdeen’s rapidly growing alternatives business will, we believe, enable us to share ideas and best practice to the benefit of our existing investors.”

Earlier this month Aberdeen agreed to acquire Parmenion Capital Partners and its sister company, Self Directed Holdings, which are based in Bristol.

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Parmenion provides risk graded portfolios to UK financial advisers that they can use through a digital platform. It has £1.9bn assets under management and delivers services to more than 900 adviser firms.

Aberdeen also recently completed the acquisition of Flag Capital Management, a diversified private markets manager, and the purchase of SVG Capital’s stake in the joint venture Aberdeen SVG Private Equity Managers.

It has also entered into an agreement to acquire US hedge fund manager Arden Asset Management, a specialist hedge fund manager and adviser, as it looks to strengthen its alternative product offering.

At the time of the Arden deal Gilbert said that acquisition highlighted Aberdeen’s commitment to diversifying its overall business and to growing its alternative investments platform.

Aberdeen’s interim results in July revealed its exposure to volatile Asian markets had cost it dearly. The firm said it had ­suffered net outflows of almost £10bn as institutional investors continue to reduce exposure to Asia and emerging markets.

Gilbert added that the group still planned a share buyback of up to £100m this year.

Shares in Aberdeen closed up 2.5 per cent, or 7.9p, at 320.3p.