Abrdn Shares Dip as AUM Shrinks in 'Challenging' Market

The company has maintained its interim dividend at 7.3p per share, insisting it is making good progress in implementing its strategic vision

Alliance News 8 August, 2023 | 10:03AM
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City of London

Abrdn said Tuesday its assets under management had shrunk in the first half of the year, with outflows continuing as it grappled with turbulent market conditions.

The FTSE 100 listing extended its share buyback, however, and said it has the "key management resources on board" to ensure a promising future.

Abrdn shares traded 6.4% lower at 204.62 pence each in London on Tuesday morning, the worst large-cap performer.

The company had said assets under management and administration fell around 0.9% to £495.7 billion on 30 June, from £500.0 billion at the end of last year.

The company reported "challenging market conditions and net outflows from the 'risk-off' environment". Excluding liquidity, it reported net outflows worsened to GBP4.4 billion in the first half, from £3.8 billion a year prior.

At interactive investor, which forms part of its Personal arm, net inflows totalled £1.9 billion. There were outflows of £100 million in the Personal Wealth segment, meaning net flows for the Personal division totalled £1.8 billion, improving markedly from GBP300 million a year prior. abrdn sealed the GBP1.49 billion buy of interactive investor in May 2022.

"ii has continued to perform well against an uncertain market environment," it said.

In the Adviser unit, net outflows totalled £600 million, swinging from net inflows of £1.4 billion. It faced redemptions of £3.5 billion, accelerating from £2.6 billion, while gross flows only totalled £2.9 billion, down from £4.0 billion.

In the Investments division, net outflows excluding liquidity worsened to £5.7 billion from £5.2 billion a year prior. The previous year's figure does not include £24.4 billion worth of withdrawals from Lloyds Banking Group relating to the settlement of a dispute.

Abrdn also reported group net operating revenue of £721 million, up 3.6% from £696 million. Its pretax loss narrowed to £169 million from £326 million.

The company maintained its interim dividend at 7.3p per share.

In addition, it upped its share buyback programme by £150 million to £300 million. It eyes returns for 2023 to be at a similar level to 2022.

"We will continue to be disciplined in our allocation of capital, investing in the business in order to drive growth and to support continued returns to shareholders," the company said.

Looking ahead, it added:

"[The] outlook for global markets remains uncertain and we are taking actions to put our Investments business on a better footing. This is through both focusing on our key areas of strength to drive revenue growth and simplifying the operating model. In the short term, additional headwinds arise from changing client demand and preferences.

"When we feel we can deliver value from other bolt-on M&A opportunities, you can expect us to be disciplined and effective in our execution. The dividend guidance remains unchanged at 14.6p per share per annum until at least 1.5 times covered by adjusted capital generation."

It added: "we have made significant progress since we set out on our strategy in early 2021. The business has been reshaped to deliver greater resilience, while getting set to take advantage of fast moving sectoral and macroeconomic factors. There is still work to do to complete our transformation, but as we look ahead to the next phase of our plan, we now have the key management resources on board and a far more secure and dynamic foundation on which we can build for the future."

abrdn has had an eventful period of late, exiting India's HDFC Asset Management Co Ltd earlier this year. It also sold abrdn Capital, its discretionary fund management arm.

Last year was the company's first full calendar year post-rebrand, as well as the first full year without any Standard Life branding within the group. 

By Eric Cunha, Alliance News news editor

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