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‘Abrdn’: Fund manager Standard Life Aberdeen mocked after ditching vowels from name

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<p>The firm’s decision to jettison vowels from its name was met with ridicule</p> (Standard Life Aberdeen)

The firm’s decision to jettison vowels from its name was met with ridicule

(Standard Life Aberdeen)

Standard Life Aberdeen has announced it will change its name to "Abrdn" as part of a corporate rebrand at the £500bn fund manager.

The company, which manages pensions and investments, said it aimed to create a "modern, agile, digitally-enabled" and "highly differentiated" brand.

Its decision to jettison vowels from its name was met with ridicule, with several commentators drawing comparisons with failed attempts at rebranding such as Royal Mail’s relaunch as Consignia in 2002.

Others questioned how to pronounce the collection of consonants. A number of Twitter users pointed out that the new name was uncomfortably close to “a burden”.

The company issued a press release stating that the correct pronunciation was “Aberdeen”.

“While the Abrdn brand might be specifically designed for the digital world, it looks far from ideal in the real one,” said Laith Khalaf, a financial analyst at investment firm AJ Bell.

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“Investors need simple fund names that are recognisable among the thousands of investments that are out there.

“The fact that Standard Life Aberdeen has actually had to explain how to pronounce the new name won’t be lost on financial advisers up and down the country, whose clients may well think they’ve punched a typo into a hastily written report.”

Chief executive Stephen Bird said the Abrdn brand would build on the group's heritage, which goes back to 1825, and is “modern, dynamic and, most importantly, engaging for all of our client and customer channels”.

He added: "It is a highly differentiated brand that will create unity across the business, replacing five different brand names that have each been operating independently.

"Our new name reflects the clarity of focus that the leadership team are bringing to the business as we seek to deliver sustainable growth.”

The rebrand, developed by agency Wolff Olins, will go ahead of the coming months “alongside implementation of a full stakeholder engagement plan to manage the transition”.

The company will switch to a new stock market ticker by August.

Standard Life Aberdeen has been looking for a new name since February when it sold rights to the Standard Life brand to Phoenix Group.

The group was formed by an £11bn merger between Standard Life and Aberdeen Asset Management in 2017.

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