As I See It
Life just won’t be the same as merger looms
The documents issued last night only referred to the company being headquartered in Scotland, though we are all expecting the capital to be the chosen base.
Standard Life Investments, which is preparing to expand into new offices in St Andrew Square, will also adopt the Aberdeen monicker. I just hope this won’t cause a few mis-booked flights.
If the names are a tad confusing, it is clear that the two boards are anxious to see this as a merger of equals. While Standard Life gets the better of the top jobs, there was a line in last night’s prospectus insisting that this is a merger, not a takeover by the Edinburgh company of its northern rival.
The decision to have two CEOs has already raised eyebrows, and the companies have reiterated how this will work. Not everyone is convinced and some analysts are already speculating that this is a short-term arrangement until a big hitter is brought in (from the US?) to take the newly-combined company forward.
A US CEO would seem logical as Standard Life Aberdeen Plc (naughtily nicknamed SLAP on social media last night) attempts to challenge the giants of the fund management world.
With £670 billion now under management, the company becomes not only Scotland’s biggest company but the biggest fund manager in the UK and will next seek to hit the trillion target.
In the meantime, and in spite of its newly-acquired scale, it will remain on alert to even bigger rivals wanting to pick it off amid a wider consolidation in the market.
Before the deal is consummated in August, the new board has been unveiled along with an inevitable cull of duplicate roles, equating to about 9% of the workforce.
It is an unfortunate consequence of a deal such as this that some jobs will be lost and offices closed, but Scotland will be left with a company of a size that it ought to be shouting about.