Martin Gilbert, the former chief of Aberdeen Asset Management who quit the merged Aberdeen Standard fund management group, today joined the exclusive club of those who claim to like the company’s new name of Abrdn.
“I like it because it’s pronounced Aberdeen,” he said. “I think it’s pretty clever and it’s certainly great for those of us who came from the Aberdeen side.”
Gilbert has now teamed up with his former private markets head Peter McKellar to build up a new boutique fund manager with backing from stockpicker Martin Hughes’ Toscafund.
They bought into AssetCo, which was essentially a shell company left over from the scandal around a fire engine leasing operation. The plan is to buy wealth managers and fund managers.
Today they announced a plan to buy Saracen Fund Managers for £2.8 million, following from its purchase of a minority stake in River & Mercantile earlier this year.
“It’s very good asset management fund. We want to build up in listed small cap companies and also some private investments,” he said, noting that Saracen was based in Edinburgh, marking a break from his Aberdeen roots.
Asked how big he wants to build AssetCo, Gilbert declined to give details beyond saying: “I always say the first billion is the hardest.”
AssetCo has £120 million under management.
The deal brings to AssetCo Saracen’s FCA regulated status.
AssetCo chief executive McKellar said: “We aim to grow the business through marketing its existing funds and over time broadening its product range to continue to meet the needs of customers.”