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Aberdeen in running for RBS fund arm

ABERDEEN Asset Management is up against several large players in the bidding for Royal Bank of Scotland’s funds division, City A.M. understands.

Rival fund manager Schroders and hedge fund giant Man Group are thought to be among those running the rule over RBS Asset Management (RBSAM).

RBSAM, which was earmarked for sale as long ago as last February, has $45bn (£28bn) assets in long-only equity and alternative products. RBS is hoping to offload it before the end of the first quarter with a price tag of £80-100m. It is understood negotiations are at an advanced stage but due diligence has yet to be conducted by any party.

Last night a senior source at Aberdeen confirmed the firm was in talks to buy the unit, in what would be its biggest acquisition since the £300m purchase of Credit Suisse’s funds arm in December 2008. “We would be interested at the right price,” the source said. “But we are not the only people involved... It would be nice to get it but we are up against pretty stiff competition.”

City insiders were divided on the likelihood of bids from Schroders and Man Group, however. One source said Schroders could be expected to concentrate on organic growth after Michael Dobson, the firm’s chief executive, dismissed the idea of bolt-on acquisitions in a third quarter conference call. Another source said the mix of assets managed by RBSAM would be an unlikely fit with Man Group’s absolute return focus.

RBSAM is one of several assets RBS?must sell off under EC rules.


FAST FACTS | RBS ASSET MANAGEMENT

• RBSAM runs institutional money. It has a fund of hedge funds unit with £4.3bn of assets
• As a condition of state aid, the?European Commission says RBS must sell non-core arms, such as Sempra and RBSAM, within four years