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City veteran Martin Gilbert's fund and wealth management M&A outfit AssetCo hires his ex-Standard Life Aberdeen colleague as CEO

This Is Money logo This Is Money 15/09/2021 Mike Sheen For This Is Money
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City veteran Martin Gilbert’s AssetCo, which has recently completed a flurry of fund and wealth management acquisitions in the UK, has hired the chairman’s former Standard Life Aberdeen colleague Campbell Fleming as CEO.

Having left his role as global head of distribution and marketing at the fund manager last year, Fleming will replace Peter McKellar, who will stay on as deputy chairman of AssetCo.

AssetCo told shareholders last year McKellar’s time as CEO would be short lived, owing to his other business commitments. Another former senior SLI colleague, McKellar is also a board member of Scottish Enterprise, Scotland’s national economic development agency.

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His replacement Fleming is currently chairman of The Big Exchange and a non-executive director of a number of other private companies, having held senior roles across the UK's asset management industry.

Shortly after doubling its stake in financial services firm River & Mercantile early last year, AssetCo moved to raise capital on London’s AIM market.

It has since completed deals to acquire Saracen Fund Managers, and bought-up large stakes in the likes of Parmenion Capital Partners and Rize ETF.

Gilbert co-founded Aberdeen Asset Management in 1983, serving as CEO from 1991 to 2017, and retired from the business in 2020, three years after the fund management stalwart’s merger with Standard Life.

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He has reportedly since fallen out with his former company, which is now led by Stephen Bird and trading under the Abrdn brand, over allegations that it used Gilbert’s own AssetCo stake to vote against his appointment to the board.

Since Gilbert’s appointment as chairman in January, AssetCo’s share price is up 109.4 per cent and is trading at 1,675p.

Gilbert said Fleming’s ‘leadership qualities, means he is well placed to build on AssetCo's strong foundations’.

He added: ‘The sector is facing numerous challenges, but the importance of the industry in enabling clients to achieve their financial goals is even greater. 

'Campbell shares our belief that AssetCo can play a key role by investing in, supporting and developing businesses to meet the needs of investors.’

Fleming said: ‘There are a number of structural shifts taking place within the asset and wealth management industry, such as digitisation and changing investing habits. As an agile business, AssetCo can capitalise on these shifts to deliver value for investors and shareholders.’


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