Scotland’s Largest Fund Managers Increase Assets by Most in YearPeter Woodifield
Scotland’s four largest money managers, who oversee almost $1 trillion between them, increased their assets by 7.4 percent in the first three months of 2013, the biggest quarterly increase in at least a year.
The combined funds of Aberdeen Asset Management Plc, Standard Life Investments, Scottish Widows Investment Partnership and Baillie Gifford & Co. rose to 631.4 billion pounds ($982 billion) at March 31 from 587.8 billion pounds at the end of 2012, company filings and statements over the past week show. They were 12 percent higher than a year before.
Among the four, whose industry in Edinburgh goes back almost two centuries, Aberdeen and Baillie Gifford posted the largest increases in assets with 9.8 percent gains. Aberdeen’s funds topped 200 billion pounds for the first time and cement its position as Scotland’s biggest money manager. Scottish Widows reported the smallest increase.
“Investor appetite for risk has improved,” Aberdeen Chief Executive Officer Martin Gilbert said in an April 29 statement. “Healthy new business flows are reflected in strong growth.”
It’s the first time in at least four quarters that the Scottish companies’ assets under management grew more slowly than world stock markets, according to data compiled by Bloomberg from the reports. It’s the third straight quarter that they have outperformed broad bond indexes.
The rise in assets compares with a 15 percent rise in pound terms for the MSCI World Index, a benchmark of global stocks, over the first quarter. The Merrill Lynch Global Broad Index of bonds with a maturity of between seven and 10 years rose 4.8 percent in sterling terms, including currency gains.
All four managers reported a rise in assets in the first quarter, as Scottish Widows Investment posted its biggest quarterly advance in a year. While still the laggard, the firm reported an increase of 3.5 percent to 146.7 billion pounds.
Lloyds Banking Group Plc is considering selling the Edinburgh-based company to increase capital, according to four people with knowledge of the talks.
Aberdeen, which has a cautious outlook on markets, is “highly unlikely” to buy Scottish Widows Investment, Gilbert said two days ago when the company reported earnings.
Standard Life Investments, Edinburgh’s largest money manager, posted a 6.8 percent increase in assets, to 179.1 billion pounds. For the first time it now oversees more than 50 percent of its funds for third-party clients. When Standard Life Plc, Scotland’s largest insurer, made it a separate business in 1998, the firm managed 5.9 billion pounds for external customers, according to its website.
Assets at Baillie Gifford, which is owned by its partners and the smallest of the four, rose to 93.3 billion pounds in the first quarter, it said in an e-mailed statement. That was 19 percent higher than a year ago.
The following is a list of the fund companies and their assets under management in billions of pounds as of March 31, Dec. 31 and March 31, 2012. The data comes from quarterly or annual statements from each company.
*T Fund Company 3/31/13 12/31/12 %chg 3/31/12 %chg
(bln pnds) Q/q Y/y
Aberdeen 212.3 193.4 9.8 184.7 15 Standard Life 179.1 167.7 6.8 160.6 12 SWIP 146.7 141.7 3.5 142.0 3.3 Baillie Gifford 93.3 85.0 9.8 78.0 20 Total 631.4 587.8 7.4 565.3 12