British asset manager Standard Life Aberdeen to change name to "Abrdn"

LONDON (Reuters) -British asset manager Standard Life Aberdeen said on Monday it plans to change its name to “Abrdn PLC” as part of a plan to shore up and modernise its brand identity.

FILE PHOTO: The offices of Standard Life Aberdeen in Saint Andrew Square Edinburgh, Scotland, Britain February 15, 2019.REUTERS/Russell Cheyne

The new name – which will be pronounced “Aberdeen” – comes after the company sold its Standard Life brand to life insurer Phoenix earlier this year.

“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, who joined the firm last year.

“It is a highly-differentiated brand that will create unity across the business, replacing five different brand names that have each been operating independently.”

Edinburgh-headquartered Standard Life merged with Aberdeen-based Aberdeen Asset Management in 2017 and Phoenix bought SLA’s European and UK insurance businesses the following year.

Phoenix took on the Standard Life brand from SLA in Feb 2021 and sold back some of the businesses it bought in 2018, as the pair simplified their partnership.

The SLA name change is the latest in a long-line of corporate rebranding exercises, some which have gone better than others. Royal Mail changed its name to Consigna in 2001, only to drop the rebrand the following year.

PwC briefly changed the name of its consulting arm to “Monday” in 2002, weeks before IBM then bought the business and dropped the name.

The Abrdn rebranding process will begin in the summer with the aim of creating a “digitally-enabled brand that will also be used for all the company’s client-facing businesses globally”, SLA said in a statement.

A spokeswoman for the firm said the name change will enable the company to own digital assets such as apps and websites, without confusion with the city of Aberdeen.

SLA’s shares rose 1%, outperforming the FTSE 100.

But the move faced a critical reception on Twitter, with one Twitter user asking “Is it the most preposterous rebrand ever?”

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