Standard Life Aberdeen sees 'modest impact' amid Covid-19 pandemic

Standard Life Aberdeen (SLA) chief executive Keith Skeoch said the global investment giant was paying a shareholder dividend from a position of “financial resilience” as he highlighted an “encouraging” performance in the face of the Covid-19 crisis.

Standard Life Aberdeen was releasing a trading update to coincide with its virtual annual shareholder meeting. Picture: Graham Flack

Releasing a trading update to coincide with its virtual annual general meeting, the Edinburgh-based group said it had seen “only a modest impact” on client and customer service from the pandemic.

Skeoch noted that net fund outflows for the first four months of 2020 were estimated at £24 billion. However, after stripping out some £25bn relating to a Lloyds Banking Group mandate, net flows were positive to the tune of £1bn, which he described as an “encouraging signal”.

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Assets under management and administration as of 30 April were estimated to be £490bn, compared with the £544.6bn reported at the end of 2019.

Skeoch said the firm’s commitment to pay the final dividend in respect of 2019 was supported by SLA’s capital strength. Shareholders will pocket 14.3p a share, taking the full-year 2019 payout to 21.6p.

The current volatile investment backdrop was “a time for careful stock picking” and “active management”, SLA’s chief executive noted.

He added: “During these turbulent times, we continue to focus on what we can control and are continuing the process of reshaping our cost base to ensure that it is future fit. We are making progress towards our synergy targets, but the external environment may impact the phasing of some of our activities over this year.”

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