Aberdeen CEO Gilbert Says Biggest Shareholders Back Strategy

Aberdeen CEO: Great Buying Opportunity 'If You're Brave'
  • Mitsubishi UFJ, Lloyds are the largest stakeholders: data
  • CEO says Asia, emerging markets still place to be longer term

Aberdeen Asset Management Plc Chief Executive Officer Martin Gilbert said he has the backing from his two largest shareholders as the shares extended losses this year.

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc., which owns about 17 percent of the asset manager, is a “very long-term holder” of the shares, the CEO said in an interview on Thursday at the World Economic Forum. Lloyds Banking Group Plc is the second largest shareholder with a 10 percent stake, according to date compiled by Bloomberg.

Martin Gilbert in Davos
Martin Gilbert in Davos
Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

“I saw Lloyds CEO Antonio Horta-Osorio, who patted me on the shoulder and said ‘just do what you can do’,” Gilbert told Bloomberg Television’s Stephanie Ruhle and David Westin in the interview from Davos, Switzerland. “That’s key to manage the parts of the business that you can manage and not worry about the market too much.”

Gilbert, 60, under pressure after more than two years of outflows from the firm’s emerging-markets funds, said the downturn had made Aberdeen more determined to remain independent. He reiterated that the firm is looking at acquisitions, saying he prefers “contribution deals” such as Scottish Widows Investment Partnership, bought from Lloyds in 2014.

Aberdeen rose as much as 3.1 percent and were at 222.30 pence at 1:44 p.m. in London, up 2.7 percent. The shares have dropped about 23 percent this year after losing 33 percent in 2015.

“I still think Asia and emerging markets are the place to be in the medium to long term,” Gilbert said. “It’s a great buying opportunity if you’re brave but the key is not to panic and sell.”

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE