Standard Life CEO predicts tough times for markets after profit fall

Keith Skeoch says a swift return to economic growth is not guaranteed amid Covid-19

Standard Life Aberdeen has reported a first-half pre-tax profit of €216m.

Standard Life Aberdeen has reported a first-half pre-tax profit of €216m.

 

Standard Life Aberdeen’s clients switched to more defensive assets in the first half of its financial year, while the coronavirus pandemic meant tough times ahead, the asset manager’s outgoing CEO, Keith Skeoch, said after its profit dropped 30 per cent.

A swift return to economic growth was not guaranteed, with the shape of any recovery dependent on whether a vaccine can be found to halt Covid-19, Mr Skeoch said on Friday, after his investment firm’s first-half pre-tax profit fell to £195 million (€216 million).

This was above expectations of £179 million and followed a 10 per cent fall in first-half profit reported by rival Schroders last week.

“The outlook for markets is tough. I don’t think this recovery without a vaccine is going to be V-shaped, it’s going to be W-shaped,” he told a media call.

Standard Life Aberdeen said it would pay an interim dividend of 7.3 pence per share, unchanged from a year ago but above a forecast 6.8 pence.

KBW analysts described the results as a “mixed bag” but highlighted the retention of the dividend. – Reuters