Funds review

Departures at Abrdn as equity teams merge

Abrdn is seeking to improve fund performance (pic: Terry Murden)

Fund manager abrdn is combining its UK and European equity teams in a move that will see some senior departures.

Ben Ritchie, previously head of European equities, will lead the 20-strong team. Andrew Millington, previously head of UK equities will take on a new role as head of research & investment process, equities.

Mr Ritchie joined the firm – as Aberdeen Asset Management – in 2002 and his appointment aims to deliver “continuity and stability,” a spokesperson said.

A handful of people will leave, with four junior members taking on portfolio management responsibilities as part of the firm’s aim to “promote and develop existing talent”.

Kay Eyre, manager of the Standard Life European Equity Pension fund, and Jonathan Allison, manager of the Abrdn European Sustainable Equity fund, are among those leaving along with European equity manager Jonathan Fearon and investment analyst Peter Silver. 

All four reported to investment director Lesley Duncan, who is also departing. Duncan managed the UK Ethical Equity and the UK Sustainable and Responsible Investment Equity funds. 

In the annual report released in March this year, the firm said that it was looking to “reshape” its cost base through, among other things, lower staff numbers.

An Abrdn spokesperson said in a statement sent to Citywire Wealth Manager: “As a result of our continuous focus on our clients’ needs and a commitment to investment excellence, we have made a strategic decision to evolve our approach in our equities business and create a single, unified UK and European equity team,”

Ten funds containing around £2bn worth of assets were identified earlier this year as underperforming.

Abrdn also announced it was undertaking a £300m share buyback programme. The first phase of the programme will see £150m worth of shares taken back from investors, which will be overseen by Goldman Sachs.

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