Standard Life Aberdeen cuts dividend by a third

Standard Life Aberdeen cuts dividend by a third as customers continue to pull money out of its funds

Crisis: Standard Life Aberdeen’s Edinburgh HQ

Standard Life Aberdeen has slashed its dividend by a third after customers carried on pulling money out of its funds.

The firm had appeared to be stemming years of outflows last summer, when it said investors had put in £100million more to its funds than they had pulled out during the first half of the year.

But a lacklustre end to the year brought total outflows back to £3.1billion – though this was less than the £17.4billion of withdrawals it had suffered in 2019. 

Operating profits at the firm, which was formed in a 2017 merger between Standard Life and Aberdeen Asset Management, fell from £301million to £219million. 

And the full-year dividend was slashed from 21.6p to 14.6p – the first cut for Standard Life since it was demutualised in 2006.

Stephen Bird, who took over as chief executive from Keith Skeoch last September, said there was ‘growing momentum’ in the business.

He has billed himself as ‘the reset guy’, and is trying to cut costs while focusing on Asia, the UK and so-called responsible investing.

But shares slid 7.2 per cent as investors were disappointed with the progress.