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Standard Life Aberdeen drops Es in rebrand to Abrdn

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Asset manager Standard Life Aberdeen has settled on a new name to unite all its products under a single brand, Abrdn.

The company said that its new name would still be pronounced “Aberdeen”, but that the rebrand will make it modern and agile.

It did not explain further why it decided that removing the Es from Aberdeen would achieve these goals, and the move received some mockery online.

According to a video posted on the company’s Twitter account, the A in Abrdn has been taken from “Standard Life” not from “Aberdeen”.

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“Our new brand Abrdn builds on our heritage and is modern, dynamic and, most importantly, engaging for all of our client and customer channels,” said chief executive Stephen Bird.

It is an issue that has been at the forefront of Mr Bird’s mind since he took over the top job last year.

Shortly after taking charge he told the Mail on Sunday that “confused branding” was one of the company’s weaknesses.

“We have six brand names and six websites. So we’re going to fix that,” he said.

Since then the six have been slashed to five, after it sold off one of the brands.

After revealing that all remaining brands will be re-named to Abrdn, Mr Bird said: “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.”

Reaction to the announcement on social media was mixed, with one user asking “Is it April 1st again?”

Another labelled the rebrand “Irritable Vowel Syndrome” and the question “What do you have against vowels?” was also posed.

Comparisons were made with TV quiz Only Connect’s missing vowels round, while Scottish singer Steve Byrne tweeted: “I give it six months. I’m from Arbrth after all.”

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The rebranding will start to roll out over the summer and progress through 2021, the company said.

There will also be a “full stakeholder engagement plan to manage the transition”.

The business was formed in 2017 when Standard Life merged with Aberdeen Asset Management.

But profit has fallen and Mr Bird has said that the business has not proven to be greater than the sum of its parts.

“Standard Life Aberdeen needed to sort out its branding, but the new Abrdn name will likely leave investors feeling dazed and confused,” said AJ Bell financial analyst Laith Khalaf.

“Investors need simple fund names that are recognisable amongst the thousands of investments out there, and having a brand name you can actually say, even if it’s only in your head, is a big help.

He added: “While the Abrdn brand might be specifically designed for the digital world, it looks far from ideal for the real one.

“A full stakeholder engagement plan is promised and don’t be surprised if stakeholders ask for some vowels please, Carol.”

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