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Aberdeen set to benefit as mergers near

ABERDEEN Asset Management yesterday predicted further consolidation in the fund management sector next year as improving stock markets encouraged investors back to equities.<br /><br />Chief executive Martin Gilbert described the company&rsquo;s performance over the year to the end of September as &ldquo;solid&rdquo; in what had been months of unprecedented turbulence.<br /><br />The company saw an exodus of &pound;29.8bn in the year to the end of September, but said this eased significantly in the second half as markets bounced back from their lows and investors began to return to shares.<br /><br />Despite a 12 per cent drop in pre-tax profits to &pound;85.1m, assets under management rose by nearly a third to &pound;146.2bn, thanks mainly to the &pound;250m acquisition of Credit Suisse&rsquo;s fund business earlier this year.<br /><br />The purchase gave Aberdeen another &pound;35.1bn in assets under management. Gilbert said the company had enjoyed a &ldquo;triple whammy&rdquo; this year of lower costs, improving markets and the addition of Credit Suisse&rsquo;s funds.<br /><br />&ldquo;We are seeing the benefits of those cost cuttings, as well as better revenues from the improving stock markets and we have also seen the benefits from buying Credit Suisse,&rdquo; he said.<br /><br />Further acquisitions are on the cards. Chairman Roger Cornick said: &ldquo;Looking ahead, the impact of the financial crisis on asset managers is likely to see more consolidation. <br /><br />&ldquo;The survivors will be those that can differentiate themselves through performance, but also through diversification of revenues via products and channels.&rdquo;<br /><br /><strong>BILL RATTRAY: </strong><br />FINANCE DIRECTOR<br /><br /><strong>ROGER CORNICK: </strong><br />CHAIRMAN<br /><br /><strong>MARTIN GILBERT: </strong><br />CHIEF EXECUTIVE<br /><br /><strong>SIR MALCOLM RIFKIND: </strong><br />NON-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR