Aberdeen Says ‘Tough’ Markets Prompted Clients to Withdraw Money

Aberdeen Asset Management Plc, Europe’s largest publicly traded money manager by assets, said a “tough” emerging-markets environment prompted customers to withdraw money in the three months through December.

The Scottish firm reported net outflows of 4.8 billion pounds ($7.2 billion), according to a statement from London on Tuesday. Assets under management fell to 323.3 billion pounds from 324.4 billion pounds at the end of September.

“December was a reminder that investor sentiment remains fragile,” Chief Executive Officer Martin Gilbert said in the statement. “Despite this and ongoing concerns about Europe and elsewhere, Aberdeen is in good shape.”

The shares fell as much as 4.1 percent, trading at 424.30 pence at 12:21 p.m. in London, down 3.6 percent on the day. They have decreased about 1.9 percent this year.

Aberdeen, traditionally an investor in emerging markets, bought Scottish Widows Investment Partnership, or SWIP, in November 2013 to broaden its product offerings. The company said its integration of SWIP, bought from Lloyds Banking Group Plc for 560 million pounds, is on track.

New business flows have “returned to more normal levels in January” after a “more difficult month in December,” according to the statement. The firm reported gross inflows at Aberdeen and SWIP of 11.3 billion pounds in the quarter, with outflows at 16.1 billion pounds.

“Investor sentiment remains fragile and we expect global markets and demand for investment products to continue to be volatile,” Aberdeen said in the statement. “Despite the headline net outflow, we are winning new business at good fee margins and we remain disciplined in managing costs.”

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