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Standard Life Aberdeen brings forward plan to return £1.75bn to shareholders

Written by: Paloma Kubiak
Standard Life Aberdeen has announced it will bring forward plans to return up to £1.75bn to shareholders, with the first tranche of £175m starting in the next few days.

The figure includes a return of £1bn via a share scheme which was expected later in Q3, following the proposed sale to insurance group Phoenix, and the return of up to £750m by a share buyback programme.

The fund management giant, created out of a merger between Standard Life and Aberdeen Asset Management revealed it has also proposed an interim dividend of 7.30p per share, an increase of 4.3% as it looks to “maintain its progressive dividend policy”.

At the time of the proposed merger, the firms expected annual cost savings of around £200m within three years, but it is now targeting a total of over £350m of savings.

However, as part of the H1 2018 results released today, Standard Life Aberdeen revealed that net outflows “remain a challenge in a tough market” as it saw outflows of £16.6bn in the period.

Pre-tax profit came in at £127m, down from the £344m reported in H2 2017, but up from the £94m reported a year earlier.

Assets under management came in at £610.1bn, compared with £627bn in the previous year.

Martin Gilbert and Keith Skeoch, chief executive officers, said: “Conditions for the asset management industry continue to be challenging. However, our gross inflows remain robust and are spread across a diverse range of investment capabilities, and our market-leading adviser platforms continue to grow.

“We will still have one of the strongest balance sheets in the sector, which enables us to continue to develop and broaden our areas of strength and focus on delivering long-term performance for our clients.”

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