CEO's targets

Abrdn cuts employee benefits in costs clampdown

Stephen Bird
Stephen Bird: reshaping business

Asset manager Abrdn has cut employee benefits as chief executive Stephen Bird continues to reduce costs and rebuild the business.

It is halving redundancy payments to two weeks and introducing a 52-week cap, while the length of paid parental leave will shorten by about a third from 40 to 26 weeks.

The changes, which will be phased in from January, are said to have hit morale at the Edinburgh-based business which has seen continual upheaval since Mr Bird arrive three years ago.

He is focused on restoring growth to a company which reported a pre-tax loss of £169 million for the six months to June, and a £615m loss for its previous financial year. It suffered larger-than-expected outflows in the first half of this year.

One employee told the Financial Times that the changes were “yet another kick in the teeth for very weary staff”.

Abrdn said: “We continue to offer a leading employee proposition that compares well with other large employers in the sector and more widely.

“These updates to our approach mean that Abrdn is aligned both to market practice and our ambition to deliver a more efficient operating model.”

Mr Bird’s changes have included the closure, restructuring or merger of more than 100 funds, and the loss of about a fifth of the group’s multi-asset team.

He has shifted the focus towards towards its investment platform, partly through the acquisition of interactive investor in 2021.

Shares in the company continue to lack direction and the company has bounced in and out of the FTSE 100 over the past 18 months.

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