The Transformation of Abrdn by Stephen Bird

The appointment of Stephen Bird as Standard Life Aberdeen’s CEO in September 2020 opened a new dawn for the asset manager. Immediately after Bird took over, he embarked on a three-year plan to reverse the revenue decline witnessed earlier. The firm has become the UK’s largest asset manager and an FTSE 100 Company through Bird’s leadership prowess.

In 2017, Aberdeen Asset Management merged with Standard Life to form Standard Life Aberdeen. The move didn’t bear fruits, as the asset manager lost £17.4 billion worth of investment in 2019. The firm’s market value dropped by £5.2 billion, landing at £5.8 billion. The setback compelled the company’s chairperson, Sir Douglas Flint, to hire Stephen Bird as the new CEO.

From the firm’s operation evaluation report, he reformulated the executive and realigned the firm’s long-term growth strategy. As a result, the firm rebranded into Abrdn in 2021, reshaping the business into investments, advisers, and personal vectors. The three vectors are currently administering £508 billion worth of assets.

Stephen Bird then embarked on a three-year streamlining plan. Bird adopted a modern investing approach to help streamline the Abrdn financial management framework. He implemented a cost-cutting framework to halt the funds’ outflow and revenue decline. For instance, he brought in the Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs). ETFs are computer-run funds that automatically select the best rewarding commodities, shares or bonds. The robotic device is, therefore, cheaper than traditional funds. According to Stephen Bird, technology-driven investment is the solution to becoming the world’s biggest asset manager.

To boost the firm’s revenue, Abrdn is focusing on acquisitions. For instance, it acquired Finimize, a financial insight tool, and Interactive Investor, a subscription-based direct investment tool. Moreover, Abrdn offers financial advice to clients, especially on taxes and pensions.

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Who Is Stephen Bird?

The Abrdn CEO, Stephen Bird, has a vast experience in the banking sector and global financial market. The Abrdn’s CEO holds a Cardiff College MBA (Economics and Finance). Bird formerly worked for CitiGroup, an investment banking firm, for 21 years. He has board membership to the Investment Association, Scotland Financial Growth & Development, and Confederation of British Industries.

Bird is hailed by many for his transformative role despite the disruptive environments caused by technological evolution and competition.

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