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Abrdn fund shake-up and advice in spotlight

Stephen Bird
Stephen Bird has overseen a radical restructuring of Abrdn

Abrdn, the Edinburgh-based asset manager, will be expected this week to explain its decision to merge its one-time star fund and offer greater stability following recent upheaval in its advice and management divisions.

The company told staff last month that its Global Absolute Return Strategies (Gars) fund, which once managed tens of billions of pounds of investors’ money, is to cease operating as a standalone vehicle.

Chief executive Stephen Bird, who has overseen a major overhaul and rebranding of the group, will unveil its interim results on Tuesday with few analysts expecting performance fireworks after the weak St James’s Place results last week.

Abrdn has recognised a £28.4m write-down in its financial planning business after losses and outflows increased last year.

The holding company behind the advice arm showed the value of Abrdn Financial Planning and Advice, formerly known as 1825, was written down from £105.9m to £77.5m following a £28.4m impairment charge.

Analysts say the write-down shows how Abrdn has not been able to generate shareholder value from its financial planning business despite a string of big acquisitions. In June, Abrdn announced the closure of its Sheffield and Reading adviser offices, with several planners’ jobs cut. The head of Abrdn Digital Solutions Paul Titterton left the business after just 18 months.

Swiss mining giant Glencore is also expected to publish relatively weak financial results as commodity prices dropped. Most of its peers, including Anglo American and BHP published weak results.

InterContinental Hotels Group, which owns the George Hotel in Edinburgh, will likely publish strong results as business and leisure travel bounced back. Other companies releasing figures are Bellway (trading update), Flutter Entertainment, TUI, Antofagasta, Persimmon, and Beazley.

In Asia this morning, the Nikkei 225 index in Tokyo was up 0.1%. In China, the Shanghai Composite was down 0.8%, while the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong was down 0.3%.

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