RBS offloads fund management assets

RBS Gogarburn

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is selling off almost half of its fund management assets to Aberdeen Asset Management in a £84.7 million deal.

This includes its fund of funds division, which has assets under management of £13.5 billion. The remainder is expected to be sold off separately - possibly to private equity groups.

The deal, which is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2010, will also see Aberdeen enter into a distribution agreement for certain products with RBS Wealth Management. This will give Aberdeen access to RBS Wealth Management's private client franchise, which spans the UK, the Middle East and Asia.

The move comes as part of restructuring plans announced in February last year to offload its non-core operations and focus on key areas as it battles to get back on track.

Bruce Van Saun, RBS group chief financial officer, says: "This transaction represents another step in our plan to restructure RBS around its core customer franchises. Aberdeen is a well regarded and well established global asset manager and will be an excellent new owner for the business."

Aberdeen in turn said it is looking into a share placing of around 84 million new shares at 10p each to raise funds to help fund the deal. This represents about 8.3% of its current share capital.

It has been looking to snap up assets from rivals who have been hard hit by the financial crisis.

In November it signed up to a £5 million deal for the contract to manage Bramdean Alternatives, the listed funds of funds investment vehicle that holds around £130 million in assets.

Aberdeen chief executive Martin Gilbert says: "This transaction fits with our corporate strategy, a key part of which has been to make earnings enhancing acquisitions to complement organic growth."

Meanwhile, RBS is also looking to sell its 51% stake in commodity business RBS Sempra as part of measures imposed by the European Commission in return for its financial lifeline. It has reportedly received three offers worth around $4 billion (£2.5 billion) from Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan Chase and Macquarie ahead of the Wednesday deadline.


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