Standard Life Aberdeen assets grow but profits drop

Standard Life Aberdeen’s assets rose in the first half, but bulky outflows weighed on profits.

Adjusted profit before tax declined almost 10% to £280 million in the first half of the year.

Although outflows declined to £15.9 billion, this was still more than analysts had expected.

The group also reported that assets under management and administration were up 5% to £577.5 billion.

Cost savings were on track, with £234 million of its £350 million annual target achieved.

Reported profit after tax attributable shareholders surged 473% to £636 million thanks to the sale of a stake in HDFC Life.

George Salmon, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “While less negative than last year, outflows remain Standard Life Aberdeen’s Achilles heel with billions of pounds of investors’ money walking out the door every quarter.

“That’s particularly problematic because a strategic repositioning that culminated in the sale of the Phoenix business means the group is increasingly focused on asset management rather than insurance.”

Shares in Standard Life Aberdeen were down 4% in early trading on Wednesday.

The group’s chief executive Keith Skeoch said: “With a strong balance sheet, our drive for efficiency and ability to invest in innovation, technology and our people, we are well placed to deliver value and sustainable returns for our shareholders.”

The firm also said it had retained £35 billion of Lloyds Banking Group assets following its dispute with the bank.

In March, a tribunal ruled Lloyds did not have the right to end a mammoth £100 billion contract with the asset manager.

Last month Lloyds also agreed to pay £140 million to settle the row.