Aberdeen Asset Management to set up Middle East office

DubaiAberdeen Asset Management hopes to set up its first office in the Middle East by early 2016 and will eventually employ fund managers to manage money locally.

Martin Gilbert, chief executive, says the firm is still deciding whether to set up the office in Dubai or Abu Dhabi and hopes to make a decision by the end of the year.

Gilbert, who was in Dubai to speak at the FundForum conference, told Funds Global MENA that Aberdeen wants a local office to service existing clients, “but a natural effect of that is that you get closer to clients you don’t already have”.

“Also, as the region develops, more companies become investable,” he adds. “Our natural progression has been to locate local asset managers as we’ve done in Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Jakarta and Hong Kong. It’s inevitable we’ll have some fund managers here at some stage.”

Gilbert admitted that Aberdeen Asset Management, which has a sizeable proportion of its assets under management in emerging markets, has suffered from the recent fall in emerging market equity values. He says the last released figure for the firm’s assets under management, $483 billion at the end of June, has likely fallen due to the volatility in Asia.

However, he told the conference that “the key to asset management is survival”, and noted that in his tenure as chief executive of the company he had personally survived a 90%-fall in the company’s share price in the early 2000s.

While being interviewed on-stage at the conference, Gilbert, who recently celebrated his sixtieth birthday, was asked about succession planning at Aberdeen.

“People keep asking if I’m going to retire,” he said. “But I enjoy it and I plan to stick around. Of course, it may not be my decision. Maybe I’ll have messed up something and, this time, there won’t be any mercy.”

©2015 funds global mena

Related Articles