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Britain's Standard Life Aberdeen cuts dividend as profit falls

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·2 min read
FILE PHOTO: The offices of Standard Life Aberdeen in Saint Andrew Square Edinburgh, Scotland
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LONDON (Reuters) - Standard Life Aberdeen said on Tuesday it was cutting its dividend after adjusted full-year profits fell 16.6% to 487 million pounds ($674 million) and as the British asset manager reconfigures its global operations with a renewed focus on Asia.

It said it would pay a dividend of 14.6 pence per share for 2020, compared to 21.6 pence the previous year.

The first full-year results under Chief Executive Stephen Bird set out a new direction after selling its Standard Life brand to insurer Phoenix Group in February.

Phoenix bought Standard Life Aberdeen's European and British insurance businesses in 2018.

SLA aims to create a master brand for the whole company, compared to five separate brands now, Bird said.

Despite improved investment flows in the second half of 2020, fee-based revenue fell 13% to 1.43 billion pounds amid 3.1 billion pounds in outflows, largely from clients switching to lower-fee assets and a scheduled withdrawal of assets by Lloyds Banking Group. Outflows in 2019 were 17.4 billion pounds.

Assets under management and administration fell by 10 billion to 534.6 billion pounds, above a forecast of 528.60 billion but low compared to competitors. Rival Schroders posted a 15% increase in assets to 574.4 billion pounds.

Bird said the company aimed to reduce its cost-income ratio to 70% by the end of 2023 from 85% in 2020, and achieve a high single-digit compound annual growth rate by 2023.

"We have simplified and clarified leadership structures across the business and placed a refreshed focus on Asia," Bird said in a statement.

SLA said growth in Asia, its British adviser and consumer markets, and its solutions and responsible investing business were its priorities.

At 0843 GMT, shares in Standard Life Aberdeen were down 0.7%.

($1 = 0.7231 pounds)

(Reporting by Clara Denina; Editing by Rachel Armstrong and Edmund Blair)