Competition Watchdog Clears Path for Asset Management Mega Merger

Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has given the go-ahead for the £11 billion merger of Scotland-based asset management companies Standard Life and Aberdeen Asset Management.

Stating that it had decided not to refer the merger to a second phase in-depth investigation, the CMA has made way for the formation of Europe’s second largest fund manager and a global top 25 player, with £660 billion assets under management.

The CMA began a standard review in May to ensure the mega merger would not wipe out competition due to the company’s elevated position as the UK’s largest asset manager. While still awaiting approval from other regulators, shareholders on both sides voted overwhelmingly in favour of the merger to go ahead, with 99 per cent of Standard Life investors backing the deal, and 95.8 per cent voting in support on the Aberdeen side.

When the deal completes in August, the company will be Standard Life Aberdeen, with Standard Life’s Keith Skeoch and Aberdeen boss Martin Gilbert running the business as joint CEOs from its headquarters in Scotland. As well as combining to create a global industry powerhouse, the deal is expected to deliver more than £200 million in cost savings per year, with the fund manager expected to cut up to 10 per cent of its combined 9,000 workforce over the next three years.

This Is Money reported that Chairman of Standard Life, Gerry Grimstone, had declared the deal as “one of the most significant events” in the company’s history, while Simon Troughton, chairman of Aberdeen Asset Management stated the merger was a “landmark” for the firm.

This announcement comes after reports that Standard Life is also in merger talks with Scottish Widows, a subsidiary of Lloyds. However, the company has declined to comment on what it refers to as “speculation” at this stage.

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