Standard Life Aberdeen hits back at fears a hard Brexit will damage the City

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Standard Life Aberdeen quashed fears a hard Brexit will trigger turmoil in the City on Tuesday after it backed national regulators to negotiate a solution. 

The £630 billion funds firm, which employs 9,000 people around the world, said the hit to financial services from a no deal Brexit would be minimal because the City was better at adapting than other industries.  

Co-chief Keith Skeoch, who heads the company with Martin Gilbert, said: “National regulators will talk to each other and they will put good transitional arrangements in place. 

“There isn’t an issue in asset management and very few issues in financial services.”

The post-Brexit fate of financial services remains in question after the EU and the UK last month failed to reach agreement on how the City would access the EU after March 2019. 

The Chequers deal has proposed solutions for goods but a trading plan for financial services is still is to be decided. 

Gilbert said: “Financial services can look after themselves and [the Government] has got to look after the manufacturing sector. They are pretty adaptable,” 

Sterling also fell to its lowest level in nearly a year yesterday after Trade secretary Liam Fox said there was a 60-40 chance the UK will leave the EU in March without an agreement.Today the pound rose 0.29 cents against the dollar at $1.2972.

Standard Life Aberdeen has set up a new subsidiary in Dublin to administer separate accounts for 500,000 Irish, German and Austrian customers it previously handled in London.

A large base in Luxembourg will also be used for back office work on pooled funds of cash managed in London.

However, fewer than 100 people will move across to both offices as part of the company’s Brexit plan, which has been in the works for 18 months.

“We are not seeing huge job movements out of London, we are seeing more recruitment,” Gilbert said.

Shares in the business rose today after it brought forward a share buyback plan. The company had promised to give back £1.75 billion to shareholders following the sale of its insurance business to Phoenix. 

However an initial tranche of £175 million will start in the next few days due to the cheapness of shares. 

The company had pencilled in buying back shares at 350p but because they are now 300p the group has decided to start now.

Offices boss backed

Standard Life Aberdeen, one of IWG’s shareholders, today backed the serviced office giant’s boss after £2.7 billion takeover talks ended. Shares in IWG, formerly known as Regus, plunged yesterday after chief Mark Dixon said a trio of suitors had been spurned.

Wes McCoy, investment director at Aberdeen Standard Investments which has a 5% stake in IWG, said his firm is supportive of firms that turn down approaches that “don’t offer shareholders the true value of a business”. He added Dixon has “been through tougher situations than this”, and “those that have been patient behind him have been well rewarded over time”.


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August 7, 2018 |
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